Cynthia St. Charles Store

Monday, January 21, 2008

Birds on this Cold Snowy Day

It was seven degrees below zero when we got up this morning. We have six inches of fresh snow.

The sidehill behind our house is our bird habitat where I've hung a number of different types of feeders. The birds were super hungry today with these cold temperatures.
I had to refill the feeders at mid morning, and that is when I decided to try to get some bird pictures to convert into screens for printing. The white snow in the background makes it much easier to manipulate and isolate the image in order to make a silhouette image for a screen, so I got settled in by the window with a cup of tea and my camera. Above is a Downy Woodpecker.
This is a Black Billed Magpie.
The Red Breasted Nuthatch (the one hanging upside down) is a favorite bird to watch - for its acrobatics.

We don't usually have Red Crossbills in such quantities around here, but I have read that their food supply is depleted in their normal winter habitat in Canada, so they are hanging out in places like Montana. These birds are really interesting for their unusual bills configured to open seed shells easily.
The female Crossbill is a drab olive - yellow green. This one above is demonstrating the usefulness of that specialized beak.
The Pine Skiskins are here in droves, too. They are also showing increased numbers due to reduced forage in Canada. We always see these, though. Note the yellow bands on their wings.
We have both Black Capped and Mountain Chickadees here. These are the Black Capped Chickadees. I had a hard time getting good pictures of them - they are so active and quick - never still for a moment!

Here is a picture of the area just off our patio, where I hang several feeders. The sun was finally peeking over the hill as I took this picture at about 10:00 AM!

I worked in my studio this afternoon, getting some bird images ready for the Thermofax. Then, I took a break and stamped some fabric. I pulled some of the pieces I dyed last summer and decided to print them in black, white and gray. I wasn't sure why I chose these colors, not my usual choices. As I hung them up to dry, I realized these are the very colors of the birds I was photographing today. The dull red, the drab yellow, and the pale blue gray - as well as the black, gray and white lines of the stamp - much like the texture of the branches against the snow. This was not conscious - rather more of an intuituve choice. I have a few more pieces in the same color family to stamp - then I plan to do something pieced with them, but not sure what . . . stay tuned.

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