Birds: A personal Project
This time of distancing and isolation has allowed me more time to create new work and continue unfinished work. Today I would like to share my progress on a bird project that started 2 years ago.
This was the first image I made of a white-throated sparrow I found dead on the front walkway at my home. I hung it along with dried herbs collected from my garden.
It all began early one morning on my way out my front door to greet a repair person. I noticed a little white-throated sparrow lying dead on the front walk and since it was not there earlier I knew it was freshly killed. I was very upset when I realized what happened: it had crashed and died by hitting my large new picture window that reflected the image of the woods back to the bird. Birds see the world differently than humans - it did not realize that it was just a reflection in a window. This upset me so much that I decided to create a series of photographs to bring awareness to this issue.
Here the bird and leaves, photographed in my studio, is blended with another image I made of the woods reflected in a river. I wanted to use reflections in this image since that is what killed it, and to bring awareness that birds see the world much differently than humans.
Since my parents were serious bird watchers, I loved going with them on birding trips and adventures. One adventure that stands out was at a park where an older woman trained the Chickadees to eat sunflower seeds from her hand. We went to that park to explore this and indeed they did come to my hand! That was an incredible thing to feel a tiny bird, just pure energy in my hand, as it picked at and ate the seeds.
The dead birds that I find go directly into my freezer, much to the dismay of my family - but they know now what part of the freezer to stay away from!
This bird lies in a wooden box with rose petals. My human way of paying respect, I suppose. I blended it with my image of sky and autumn leaves reflected in a pond near my home.
I'm not completely sure of the scope of this project, but I am compelled to continue. Seasons change, my mind changes and I see things differently each time. I will keep creating images of the birds as long as I find them. Some may go extinct, but it's my way of remembering, documenting this changing world, and honoring them for future generations.
A neighborhood friend gave me this Robin. Nature's colors blend together as this bird lies on a bed of dead leaves on this cool early spring morning. This is a single shot - no blending or double exposure here. Same thing for the last 2 images which were all photographed in my natural light studio.
My original White-Throated Sparrow from another perspective with twigs on wood.
This Chickadee I found on the side of the road near my home this past spring as I took a morning walk. The glove is quite small, I have small hands, so you can see the tiny size of this little black-capped chickadee.
I've noticed some birds feed on worms or bugs by the edges of country roads. The force of air that cars and trucks create at speeds of up to 45-50 mph on these roads has the ability to injure or even kill a small bird like this. It is heart-breaking for me to hold a dead chickadee now after my earlier experience of feeding them from my hand. The glove, a substitute for my own hand, was used simply because I found it difficult to photograph and handle the bird at the same time in order to create a successful image, even with the camera self-timer!
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