Sunday, April 18, 2010

Fallen crow

 Last Sunday I walked early in the morning, hoping to beat some rain that was headed into town. As I wandered through my neighborhood I found a newly killed crow in the road, still warm, but definitely dead. I've found smaller birds before and have been able to stow them in one of the plastic bags I carry to pick up after my dog but this crow was a BIG bird and wouldn't come close to fitting in the bag so I headed back home for a bigger bag and the car thinking I might have some time for sketching before the rain. By the time I returned home it was raining so I stowed the crow in my refrigerator for the next three days, waiting for the weather to clear so I could draw outside.

I was interested to see that crows have a "mustache" of feathers that turn down over the beak. I also welcomed another chance to examine a bird's foot up close since they're the hardest thing to see through binoculars in the field. Bird's feet are truly amazing! Scaled on top and heavily padded below with small traction "buttons" kind of like those bumps on Dr. Scholl's sandals, these feet are perfectly made for comfortably gripping a branch.

Oddly, I found that drawing a dead bird wasn't as engrossing now that I've spent several weeks drawing live birds in the field. Live birds are much more interesting and exciting to draw.


  1. But they do sit still, don't they! Beautiful drawing, Debbie. It does make me feel sad though.

    I saw heaps of birds on my walk this morning but they just don't stay still - I'm beginning to think, I'm never going to find a way to sketch them IRL.

  2. Your title is so poignant. I was also struck by the beauty of your sketch, and how you wonderfully observed each part. I find that I enjoy sketching the moving, live birds, too, but something like this definitely fills in the blanks.

    Thank you for those interesting descritions, especially of the feet.

  3. Hi Debbie, for a moment I thought you stored the crow to have a nice meal later:). Your husband must have good nerves.. if my wife would find a dead crow in the frige I don't know what would happen.
    Your drawing is excellent, you captured the feathers the detailed foot so well