How to identify Birds in General
A few things I’ve found helpful as a very beginning birder is to try and remember:
- Size (bigger or larger than a bird you do know like a cardinal, sparrow or red-tail hawk)
- Bill shape
- Markings around the eye
- Crest or other distinguishing features like it has a purple breast.
- Tail shape
Cornell is a proponent of citizen science, so they offer many course.
While names are not important for enjoyment of birding, there is a certain thill in putting a name to a bird. For me, naming helps to solidify the memory and experience of seeing and hearing it. Of course photographing, drawing, and painting help too.
How the Junk Mail Migration Series helps the Herring Gull
When you add one of the birds from the Junk Mail Migration Series to your home, you are helping to support song bird conservation in the Boreal Forest. Whenever I sell work from the Junk Mail Migration Series, 10% will be donated to the Boreal Songbird Initiative.
What is the Boreal Songbird Initiative? Their work is the spark that inspired this ongoing series of paintings (Read about how and why I started painting migratory birds on junk mail). In their own words, “As the voice for boreal birds, the Boreal Songbird Initiative (BSI) is committed to protecting the Canadian Boreal Forest—the largest intact forest on Earth—on behalf of the billions of migratory birds that rely on it.” — Boreal Songbird Initiative
About the Junk Mail Migration Series
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) 81% is part of a larger ongoing series about backyard ecologies called Junk Mail Migration. These works examine the direct impact of junk mail production on the immediate environment – our backyards.
Many of our favorite songbirds breed, live, and migrate to/from the Boreal Forest, only passing through Iowa seasonally. When their breeding habitat is destroyed, the population dwindles and the chance of viewing the likes of a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher in our backyard diminishes.
For this portion of the project, birds were selected that migrate through Iowa seasonally, are not year round residence of Iowa, and have over 70% of their breeding ground in the North American boreal forest ring.
All are represented in life size scale, drawn with graphite, charcoal, gesso, and ink on junk mail laminated to recycled cardboard and supported with reclaimed or sustainably forested wood.