Saturday, October 12, 2013

Bird Feeder Joys and Wild Turkeys

I'm so excited!  Our feeders are once again in place and the birds have found them. We are coming up on our second winter in this house.  I didn't want one more to go by without the joy of watching birds right outside of our window.

I've designated a Stillman and Birn Gamma Series Journal to record feeder notes and sketches.  I'm in heaven :)  Every spare moment I have on the weekends is spent at the kitchen table, looking out the window observing bird antics and sketching.  Sketching supplies include a pencil, Micron pen, waterbrush, watercolor pencils, a Sibley bird guide and binoculars. 
To read my notes, please click image to enlarge - this will work for all of them.
 So much nature happening at my window.  All I have to do is sit back and watch :)
In early October, Rocky Raccoon discovered the feeders.  He finally figured out how to shimmy up the pole and raid the feeders.  Now, every evening I bring them in.  In the morning the birds hover at the window, looking into the kitchen.  I'm in big trouble.  They are hungry and it's not even winter yet!  Cha-ching, cha-ching!

Our neighborhood has a flock of turkeys.  Actually, the flock consists of a hen and 17 poults.  They visited the back yard off and on over the summer.  The poults are as big as the hen now and they, too, have discovered the feeders. They can certainly make a mess out of the mulch. 

They are brazen..... coming right up to the sliding door.
Our Dudley is not quite sure about the whole thing :)

Today, I was able to sketch while standing right at the window.  This requires patience as the birds are always moving.  Up to this point in my life I haven't had many dealings with wild turkeys, especially this close.  As I sketched, I noticed that they have a protrusion on their head between the eyes.  What's that called?  What is loose skin on their neck called?  Why do some have more feathers (very short but there) on their heads and necks?  I so love questions raised by looking close at a subject when sketching.  Off I went to my collection of bird books.  Please click on my journal pages to get the answers :)

I urge you to get your sketch books out and sit close to a feeder.  You'll come away quite refreshed and peaceful.  Great food for the soul.  And, remember.... this is your journal.  This is where you practice observation and trying to recreate what you see.  Accurate sketches may not happen right away, but over time you will see your progress.  One of my goals is to practice the camera technique.  That's when you view a bird pose, close your eyes and don't open them up until you turn your head to face your sketch book.  Then sketch what you saw from memory.  I'm having a bit of trouble with this.  Most of my trouble comes from not trusting myself.  The tufted titmouse on the first image is sketched using this technique.  'Oh well!'  Next time :)


  1. Oh, you make me ashamed of my laziness - I have 2 Stillman and Birn sketchbooks now and haven't opened either one. So many of our birds are gone - where did they go? Some migrating south but others, that normally stay around all winter (like our cardinals), are gone, too. I'm wondering - but hear it from others in this area: "Where did all the birds go?" I'm glad you have your birds and plenty to interest you and your doggies (more pictures of the Basenji's, please!! ha ha)

    1. Weird about the birds.... perhaps they are busy eating in the fields and woods? Or.... you are really, really going to get a lot of snow! Don't wish it on you :)

  2. No need to worry about the turkeys figuring out the feeders- they've been known to drown while looking up at the rain! Your turkeys aren't much better looking than the 5 blackheaded vultures we had hanging around on our ridgepole earlier this summer- we looked a lot like the Adams Family home!- Laura

    1. Oh my, Laura! No turkey brains I see :) Ha! That must have been a hoot to see :)