Tuesday, February 25, 2014

I'm exhibiting now at The Collector Gallery, Berkeley

Nine bird paintings from two series: Birds with Attitude and Endangered Beauty. Show runs February 23rd through March 28th with reception on Friday, March 14th.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Birds with Attitude: Golden Eagle

The Golden Eagle is a magnificent bird of prey with a 6 foot wingspan. They mate for life, reuse the same large nest year after year and may live to 32 years.

The East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area has one of the world's largest nesting populations of Golden Eagles. Yet development continues to challenge eagle habitat, and wind farms at Altamont Pass continue to kill eagles and other raptors at an alarming rate.

Lead ammunition is also a significant factor in Golden Eagle mortality when the birds eat carcasses and prey contaminated by lead bullet fragments. AB711, a lead ammo ban in California (thank you, Governor Brown!) will take effect in 2019, providing plenty of time for hunters to switch to other forms of ammunition.

See a Golden Eagle in slow-motion flight:

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Endangered Beauty . . . Elf Owl

The world's smallest owl, the Elf Owl is the size of a sparrow with a 9-inch wingspan. Found in both riparian and arid habitats of Southwestern U.S. and Central Mexico, Elf Owls inhabit tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes and saguaro cactus. Identified by its poodle-like yapping song, Elf Owls feed on invertebrates such as moths, crickets and scorpions. When threatened, Elf Owls play dead until danger has passed. Elf Owls live three to six years.

See nesting Arizonan Elf Owl and two owlets:

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

I'm exhibiting in the California Wildlife Show

I have two bird portraits in this show. Need a good excuse to get out of town and visit Half Moon Bay and the coast? It's beautiful and not that long a drive if you avoid commute hours.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Endangered Beauty . . . Rose-breasted Grosbeak

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak breeds in the Eastern United States among conifers and deciduous trees. They occasionally visit California and other Western states and migrate to Central and South America.

Beneficial to farmers, Rose-breasted Grosbeaks consume many destructive insects and are known as potato-bug birds in Colorado.

Unfortunately, Eastern populations are declining. Their song sounds like an American Robin in an especially good mood:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Endangered Beauty . . . Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owls were once widespread over western North America.  Populations have declined and in some cases disappeared due to the changes that humans have made to the owl's habitat. Federally listed as endangered or threatened in a number of states, they're considered a Species of Special Concern in California. Seventy to 80 percent of Burrowing Owls found in California reside year-round along irrigation canals in Imperial County.

The Santa Clara Valley Audubon Society works to reverse the trend in their area:
Saving Burrowing Owls:

A Burrowing Owl family in action: 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Endangered Beauty . . . Cerulean Warbler

A bird so dazzling that it's been called a flying piece of the sky. The number of Cerulean Warblers fell by 70 percent from 1966 to 1996. In the Appalachian mountains, long a breeding stronghold, large stands of prime habitat have been lost -- fragmented, heavily logged, converted to agriculture or destroyed.

In 2005, a 540-acre Cerulean Warbler Reserve was created in Colombia, providing a protected habitat for migratory birds from North America as well as local threatened species.

Henry David Thoreau called the Cerulean Warbler's song ethereal: