Sunday, June 20, 2010

Somehow or another

Well, not quite sure how it happened, but I managed to coax a bird off of the paper yesterday!

American White Pelican - Graphite on Paper
Copyright 2010, Nicole MacPherson
The American White Pelican is hard to miss, and quite conspicuous in this area from spring to fall.  We live in the middle of the city, but have Pelicans on our yard list - returning from a trip a couple of years back, a group of them flew overhead while we were unloading the car.  How cool is that?  They are often tolerant of a human presence, and are fun to photograph!  They make the funniest faces...  I spied this individual at Whitemouth Falls, one of a large group (maybe about 30) in June of 2006. 

I didn't have a clear enough photo to do a really detailed drawing, this is more of a sketch.  I was thinking about the oil spill while I was drawing, and had trouble with the shadows on this bird.  Maybe it was the oil on my mind, but my bird seemed more "dirty" than white. 

For some reason, I had assumed the oiled birds I'd seen pictures of were all Brown Pelicans.  Not sure why I thought that, it's not like the identifying features were visible. 

Took a quick trip to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology Bird Blog to see what they had to say.  They mention that the photos making the rounds online of birds "mired in oil" are Brown Pelicans, but the first bird in the slideshow is an American White Pelican with a good deal of oil on its feathers. 

In my reference photo, the pelican was resting, and probably had his head cocked that way to keep an eye on the water, in case any juicy fishies swam up.  But in my drawing, he looks to be casting a jaundiced eye to the viewer.  But maybe that's just me.