Birdtober (#Birdtober2022) is an art challenge made by @AHolmesArtStudio on instagram to follow along, learn more about the great diversity of both birds and the art styles of people all around the world!
While I went with the overall themes of the prompts, I didn’t draw the exact species, deciding to draw the same genus, but of species that I find locally. For example, instead of drawing a Saffron Finch (native to much of South America), I chose to draw a House Finch, which can be found at many feeders in Pennsylvania and the surrounding regions. These illustrations are overlaid on top of my photos of habitat that these birds can be found in.
Dive deeper into the world of birds with my a selection of my favorite Birdtober illustrations!
This is one of the largest woodpeckers in North America and if you can’t see this bird, you’ll probably hear it if there are large, dying trees around.
Their favorite food is carpenter ants, which happens to live in the tissue of dying and dead trees. Even if you don’t see these birds, or hear their loud drilling, you may see large, rectangular shaped holes in the wood. The amount that the birds chip away actually creates habitat for numerous other animals who rely on the cavities for their homes.
Due to their size, they require large trees for their own nesting sites. This can be an issue when forests are clear cut or are deforested. As the large trees disappear and so does their nesting site. In young pioneer forests, they will try to find whatever large trees they can or they move to a new location. By keeping dead trees as snags and protecting forest stands you can be helping these incredible birds!
While this bird is remarkably well known in the United States as our national bird, these birds are little known during their juvenile state. Their bald head is iconic, yet they only get their adult white feathers at five years old. Before then, they have dark brown feathers just like on the rest of their body.
These birds are also a wonderful example of conservation success stories. In the 1960’s-late 70’s, the species was in severe decline and their population was under threat of extinction due to the use of harsh chemicals that made their eggs too thin to survive. The waters that they relied on food sources for were polluted yet due to scientists, environmentalists, and intervention, their populations started to thrive and their numbers along the Delaware River (locally here in Pennsylvania) have flourished.
These vibrant birds may look blue, yet that’s a little bit deceiving. Similarly to many birds, animals, and plants that appear blue, the Indigo Bunting contains no blue pigment and instead has little reflective cells coating their feathers which reflects blue light. If you were to find a feather on the ground and hold it up to the light (so that the light doesn’t get a chance to reflect and instead passes through the feather) it would appear brown.
These little birds are some adorable feeder species in the summer. They love shrubby thicket areas that border trees which provide shelter. Adding Nyjer feeders and incorporating native thistles into the garden can also attract these birds to your yard.
A welcome bit of color in early May, the Baltimore Oriole is easy to spot. The duller (yet still bright) female is always intriguing to watch since she delicately weaves a nest using thin fibers and grasses.
These birds are fruit eaters and always select the ripest, juiciest, and darkest fruits. When attracting these birds it’s always a great idea to put out oranges, watermelon, cherries. Planting native fruit trees such as crabapples or cane berries such as raspberries will attract these birds year after year.
All of these birds are incredible members of our ecosystems. They help spread seeds of plants that prevent erosion, provide food, and shelter. They aid in pollination, decomposition, and population management. There are many ways to protect these birds in your area. By planting natives, reducing harsh chemical fertilizers, turning off lights at night, and more can all help these birds thrive.