Tiny Aviary New Year's Giveaway


December 28, 2011

2011 is wrapping up. Amongst other things that means I am getting ready for my annual trip to the wilds of Wisconsin's driftless region to stay in a cozy farm cottage with beloved friends and family.  It will be my daughter's first experience of this little tradition and I am counting the minutes!

Another tradition is that of first bird sighted on New Year's Day. The first bird I see 
New Year's Day I will make a painting of it, and that painting will be offered up in a little giveaway here on Tiny Aviary. If you wish to be included in the drawing, please leave a comment on this post. You do not need to leave your full name unless your google/blogger identity is very common like "John". Tutto capite, amici?

Ok, I wish you health, happiness and warmth.  Be kind to each other and the critters with which we share this planet. I'll be back to check on you peeps in 2012.

I will NOT be giving away this sublime bird-of-paradise print, but this one and others can be viewed here.

Thanks to my lovely friend Aaron for pointing them out. 

xo Diana

Vermilion Flycatcher - Pyrocephalus rubrinus


December 20, 2011

Fellow bird nut, artist and friend Gennine Zlatkis of Gennine's Art Blog fame, has been posting amazing photos recently of Vermilion Flycatchers she has been spotting around her home in Mexico. The males are so brightly colored, they almost don't seem real. Anyway, I kept seeing images of these crimson fellows on Geninne's blog, and eventually couldn't resist the urge to do a painting of one!

In addition to being quite common in Mexico, Pyrocephalus rubrinus can be seen here in the States in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. They prefer riparian habitat, and thus often spotted in woodland habitats along streams and rivers. Like other flycatcher species, Vermilions forage by sitting and waiting on exposed perches, and then employ a number of aerial acrobatics to pick off various arthropods out of the air.

If you have been living under a stone, and haven't seen Geninne's blog or her art yet, get your hiney over there. It's one of my favorites, as Geninne is amazingly talented, and truly generous in sharing her work and home.

Carolina Parakeet - Conuropsis carolinensis


December 19, 2011

It's a busy time right now, with the holidays and all, and I am sure that you can relate. I wasn't able to go in to the museum last week due to a bad cold, and have been catching up on various illustration work. I don't have much right now but can share some more photos from the collections.

The two photos above are of a Carolina Parakeet Conuropsis carolinensis specimen from the Field's collection. As you can see from the tags it's from 1893. The Carolina Parakeet was extinct in the wild by 1905. When I looked at this specimen it's roughly the size of a Monk Parakeet. Monks, also known as Quaker Parrots, are a species of parrot that have been introduced in the wild here. They have established several feral populations in various U.S. cities like Chicago and Austin. I've seen Monks in both of those cities, and every time I spot one, I think of the Carolina even though they are two very different species of parrot.

Monks are from the genus Myiopsitta and is native to South America. Conuropsis carolinensis is from the genus Conuropsis and was native to North America. Carolinas could be found from the Ohio Valley down to the Gulf of Mexico. They needed old growth forests as they were tree cavity nesters, and they feasted on plants such as thistle and cockleburs. They also loved to dine on fruit and corn. For this they were considered an agricultural pest, and were killed by the thousands by farmers.

The next time you take a hike and come home with cockleburs stuck to your clothing, or the next time you have to brush them out of your dog's fur, give a thought to what was our only indigenous parrot here in the States.



December 15, 2011

Yooohoooo... Holiday Sale over at my Big Cartel shop! Save 20% off of your entire order when you use this coupon code:


Sale ends tomorrow at 8PM

Winter Birds


December 13, 2011

I am not able to get out and birdwatch a whole lot these days, but I have a couple of feeders set up in the backyard. I have a suet, then one feeder full of black oil sunflower seeds, and another with thistle seed. It is true that many of our feathered friends head south for the winter, but there are quite a bit that stick around and tough it out.

I've been wanting to do a painting of all of the birds that frequent my backyard in winter. The Northern Cardinals, Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, Black-capped Chickadees, and Dark-eyed Juncos are the regulars. Less frequent are the nuthatches and creepers, but every once in a while they swing by. It's nice to be able to sit and look out the window identify our avian visitors. In the starkness of winter, they're a very welcome sight. I can't believe my daughter was born almost a year ago. She likes to look out of the window and in to our backyard at the flurry of activity at the feeder. I look forward to the day when she can identify everything she sees there, but for now "buh buh buh" will do.

This painting is available in my shop.

Flinchy Sale


December 06, 2011

Here's a shameless plug for Flinchy, the t-shirt company I create designs for. We're cleaning house and having a huge sale: $15 on all t-shirts. So if you have been wanting to pick up a Darwin's Finches for yourself or your sweetie for the holidays, here's a great chance. The other design pictured here is my 'Worrypup'. Modeled by Chicago artist Anders Nilsen.

Nuttall Ornithological Club


December 05, 2011

Saw this in the NYT recently. Lovely article on the Nuttall Ornithological Club with a couple of great specimen photos. It warms my cold, crunchy heart to read about that 12 year old attending a meeting.

Hope you all had a great weekend. The above image is from the Field Museum collections. I took it last week. I need to confirm the species, but aren't they spectacular? Something to brighten up a grey Monday.

Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise. Paradisaea raggiana


December 01, 2011

I went in to the Field Museum today to work in the prep lab, and afterwards nosed around the bird collections. This is a very old skin of a Raggiana Bird-of-Paradise (Paradisaea raggiana.) It's of the male's tail feathers, which are spectacular, of course. They belong to the Paradisaeidae family, which also includes the Lesser and Greater Bird-of-paradise, and are native to New Guinea. I took a lot of specimen photos and will post more next week. Have a lovely weekend!

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