The Joys of Sketching Birds

All through the summer, as part of our birding project, The Times has encouraged readers to try different ways of observing birds. One of those ways is sketching. We invited readers to share their drawing attempts, and to describe how sketching changes the birding experience. Here is an additional selection of what readers submitted (see the previous submissions here).

I love to draw birds and I plant flowers in my garden to attract them. I have been drawing and painting with watercolors most of my life.

Herenia Doerr, 92, Silver Spring, Md.

I love the Northern cardinal because it is red and I love red. It makes me happy when I see it. I also love it because it sings a lovely song.

Aurora Aarushi, 6, Bethesda, Md.

I wanted to reflect the majesty of this particular bird while also adding a bit of drama with the bright colors in the background. I painted on pages from a plant taxonomy textbook left over from graduate school.

Margo Connolly-Mason, 40, Fairhaven, Mass.

I don’t know much about birds but I was struck by this very lively one sitting on a branch. I photographed it because it looked to me like a sparrow, a bird dear to the French.

Claude Vidal, 78, Los Angeles, Calif.

The drawing is of a puffy mourning dove. It started out as a doodle at work on a miserably slow day. They are notoriously poor nest builders. I suppose they enjoy living life on the edge of a ledge.

Deborah Yetter, 73, Riverside, Ill.

For each of the past 38 years my partner, Jane Ashley, has given me a pencil drawing of animals or birds. All to me are treasures.

Dudley Whitney, 88, Vermont

This is a calliope hummingbird. I’m relatively new to birding. I realized there’s a magical world of sound and color and beauty hidden all around us that I’d never noticed before. I took up drawing so that I could study, learn and record the new birds that I encounter.

Sarah Joannides, 59, Mosier, Ore.

I became interested in drawing and painting birds and their nests as my sister started to share her wonderful photos.

Joanna Poethig, 66, Oakland. Calif.

My watercolor of a red-bellied woodpecker. I see this beauty every day on the oak tree outside my window. Although it is called ‘red-bellied,’ it appears more ‘red-headed.’ However, that name was taken up earlier by another ‘red-headed’ woodpecker.

Chhanda Bewtra, 73, Omaha, Neb.

Here is my sketch of a Bewick's wren that frequents my Texas backyard. For a few years now we have had them nesting on our back patio. I like to sit out there and watch them hop around, especially when the fledglings are leaving the nest.

Linda Toole, 62, San Antonio, Texas

Sacred ibis, pencil and watercolor on paper. When I was three years old I drew my first bird, in wax crayons on the back of a bed tray — a kingfisher. I’ve been drawing and painting them ever since.

Barry Kent MacKay, 80, Markam, Ontario

I paint birds and make notecards. Cardinals are my favorite. I have a screened-in porch that looks out over my flower garden, bird feeders and birdbath.

Jane Rees, 70, Jonesboro, Ark.

I draw a lot of birds. I get to appreciate every detail while also adding my own touches, like a glint in the eye or a hint of a smile. It's like the perfect picture I never got to take in the field.

Peimeng Xu, 13, San Diego, Calif.

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