Early one morning, I was taking a walk through my suburban neighborhood when I approached a house with many bird feeders. Now, I have been by this house many times and seen the common House Sparrow or Mourning Dove but this time was different. I saw a flash of orange and black. Those are not colors I am used to seeing on birds in Northern California. What was this beautiful orange and black bird?
After arriving home I went straight to my Stokes Birds of North America book to see if I could figure out what bird I saw. Once I found out it was a migrating Bullock's Oriole, I became very interested in finding out more about the native birds of California. When I found an Official California Birds List I learned that there are 657 kinds of birds in California. Of these, all but 11 are native. That leaves 646 different native bird species in this large, diverse state.
As an artist, I love how silhouettes can tell you so much about a bird - the beak, the wings, the feet and tail. They are instantly recognizable. The Mallard Duck, Anna's Hummingbird, the Great Horned Owl and, of course, the California Quail are unmistakable in silhouette. I started tracing images of birds to create their silhouette so I could design an image of California filled with birds. I loved fitting everything together to represent the diversity of bird life in California.
My California Birds artwork includes 171 different species of native California Birds.There are birds represented from every category including Albatrosses, Birds of Prey, Game birds, Grebes, Herons, Hummingbirds, Kingfishers, Loons, Nightjars, Owls, Pelicans, Perching birds, Shorebirds, Swifts, Waterfowl, and Woodpeckers. Additional images in the California Birds series include Great Horned Owl, Red-tailed Hawk, Western Bluebird, Common Raven, Anna’s Hummingbird, Western Gull, Stilt Sandpiper, Great White Pelican, Great Egret and Mallard Duck.