A Birds Eye View of Vancouver, October 2009



I have always liked Henri Matisse's observation that "There are flowers everywhere for those who bother to look."

Here in Vancouver, the same thing can be said about birds…we are blessed with birds everywhere, we just need to remember to look. Climate and geography have provided us with a diverse and beautiful avian population that adds interest to every view of the city.

This collection of illustrations includes just a few of my favourite feathered friends. Chickadees, Robins and Stellar's Jays are regulars at my bird feeder. Crows pass overhead twice daily on their commute from the area around the late lamented Still Creek roost to their turf north and west of Commercial Drive.

Trout Lake is where I encountered my first red wing blackbirds. They fly above the reeds and tall grasses at the south end near the beach. Between these dramatic birds and the joyous high energy cavorting of the dogs at the north end of the lake every walk becomes a visual feast.

Pigeons were probably the first birds I observed carefully as a very young child in New York City and I have fond memories of flocks in London's Trafalgar Square, Piazza San Marco in Venice and, of course, here in Vancouver. Most people have been conditioned to think of pigeons as urban pests. I think they are beautiful birds whose iridescent necks, plump grey bodies and beautiful silhouette in flight would be treasured if they were a rarity.

When I am biking over the Second Narrows Bridge, I often see cormorants flashing down in a dive. But the best place I've found to observe them is from the seawall at the north side of Stanley Park. They blend into the cliffs then go diving down head first at breathtaking speeds…definitely adding drama to a bike ride around the park.

"Key to the City" and "Birds Eye View of Vancouver" celebrate my long time favourite Vancouver bird, the crow. Although these wonderful birds get a lot of bad press, their sleek, shiny, black beauty, their intelligence, their loyalty to each other and their interesting antics add joie de vivre to our urban environment.

These pieces are giclee prints of original watercolour and ink paintings. They have been printed by Tricera Imaging on archival quality, acid free 100% rag paper and framed by Vancouver's best framer, Liz McLaughlin of McLaughlin Framing - Email(mclaughlinframing@telus.net)


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