It’s the holiday season, which means the hustle and bustle around the city of Altoona is unbearable. It would seem that drivers just decide to make up their own rules for the road when this time of year comes around. So naturally, when I had some errands to run yesterday, I was out to get them done as quickly and painlessly as possible. I had art-related work to get done which doubled as a Christmas gift buying trip.
My trip out involved getting a half dozen prints of my work matted and ready for pick up, and making some prints of an Eastern Screech Owl pen and ink that I’ve had stashed away for a few months:
There has been an Eastern Screech Owl making random appearances in our yard locally. We’ve never seen him or her, but we’ve certainly heard the whinnying calls from the arborvitae and eastern hemlock trees outside. I’m sure the fact that we have so many birdfeeders has contributed to the rodent population – with which the owls and birds of prey are willing to help remedy.
I haven’t seen the sick House Finches that have been showing up around the yard. We took our feeders down and soaked them in bleach water. (1 part bleach, 9 parts water) to kill any hint of the finch disease that may linger on the feeders to spread to other House Finches. Once thoroughly dry, we put new seed in the feeders and hung them up again. Hopefully this helps slow the disease down, but it’s clear that this is an ongoing problem in the Eastern U.S. Perhaps if mankind didn’t capture these birds out west and interbreed them as “Hollywood Finches” they wouldn’t be so susceptible to a disease that normally only affects poultry. I am reporting my findings to Cornell Lab of Ornithology and hope to become part of their citizen science program. Any way I can contribute to bird conservation and protection, I will.
It’s been a good week for my trout art. I’ve sold three matted prints including two full color rainbow trout prints and a pen and ink of one hell of a ‘lunker’ brown trout on a streamer. (A streamer is a long fly lure used to mimic a baitfish or aquatic insect.)
The two paintings with green mats are my entries to last years Delaware Trout Stamp – which I did not so much as place in!! My skills have grown since then, however, and I greatly look forward to entering two pieces in the next contest – which starts pretty soon actually. In addition to that I have compiled a hefty list of other stamp contests to participate in for 2015. You can click on my trout art below for a better look at the art itself.
The Cooper’s Hawk that has been visiting the yard for prey has made a successful kill. I’m guessing the bird that was nabbed was either a sick house finch, a house sparrow (both of which are invasive and bullies) or a female cowbird (a parasite, but native bird, that lays its eggs in other birds nests – dooming their own chicks to plummet to the earth). Either way, I’m okay with it. All that remained in the yard was a beak and a pile of feathers- a troublesome bird has been removed – and now we won’t have a juvenile starving Cooper’s Hawk on our hands. The circle of life! Sometimes ugly, but always necessary.
Just say the hell away from my native birds, Mr. Cooper’s Hawk. Please?