Sialia sialis ; Sambucus canadensis
2014, Watercolor, digital wash
The Eastern Bluebird is a small bird with blue back, red/orange-brown throat, and white belly. Males are more brightly colored than females.
Bluebirds’ feathers aren’t actually blue. Their colorless feathers have unique microscopic structures that absorb all the colors except for blue. Although their numbers once dropped dramatically, the bluebird population has been increasing steadily since 1960s due to the thousands of bluebird nest boxes placed and monitoring projects throughout the United States.
Elderberries are usually found on the edges of cleared fields in moist soils. Their delicate, lacy flowers bloom in the spring. The flowers will then turn into dark berries in summer until late fall, which are important food sources for many types of birds.
Why Scientific Illustration?
When illustrating birds, I always make sure to get the overall shape and beak characteristics correct first. I usually go on birding trips for native birds to study them in life and see how they carry their bodies and interact with one another. Each species seem to have their own “personal poses”! It is amazing to find so much variation in color and plumage even in the same species, so I average out the characteristics to prepare the final plate.
8.5 x 11 Archival Quality Prints available. $35 print only; $75 matted print