Sunday, May 24, 2009

Downy Tenderness

I have a suet feeder filled with homemade suet near my front door. I usually keep a window open so I can hear birds approach. While working inside, I've learned to use my ears as much as my eyes to alert me that there's someone out there that I want to see.
I think Downy's are among the most endearing of birds so I enjoy watching them whenever I can. When I heard a Downy's chirp, I dropped my project and stepped outside for a while with my camera. And on this occasion, I happened upon a pair.
One of the ways that a male bird shows loyalty to its mate is through feeding. This is part of the mating ritual and strengthens the pair bond that will later see them through the rigorous activities of protecting and feeding their young. Was I ever surprised when the male, with the red crown marking, flew to the feeder and upon returning to the tree, scooted around the trunk to feed his find to the female. A fun moment!

The sketch is watercolor on 5x7 Aquabee 800 sketchbook paper. I was also trying out a #8 brush in the Stratford and York 100 series. It comes to a nice fine point for getting around those little dots on the wing feathers.
To see more images of this female Downy as she approached the feeder earlier in the day, click the link.


  1. I so enjoyed your painting and post!

  2. I didn't know they formed such a close bond during the breeding season. How interesting to know. We love the little Downies here too. My hubby and I drop what we are doing too when we see one in our apple tree. Unfortunately, we are a bit too open and urban for them to hang about much.

  3. We love the downies too :) I guess the feeding is their idea of a dinner date... ;)


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