What secret sauce whets someone’s appetite to pursue a passion for art, birding, or both? Maybe it starts when a child assembles and customizes a birding journal cover. Perhaps it continues through careful observation while sketching basic body shapes and then characteristic details of crest, mask, or beak – all while seated in Woodson Art Museum galleries or on a tree stump in the field.
The whole bird vibrates. Side-lit by sun, a bobolink spills song across new meadow grass on old farmland in Westminster, Massachusetts in May. Notes vector out from half a head of open beak and half a buffy helmet, aquiver with sound. With wing-pumping, reverse-tuxedo verve, this bird makes “going out on a limb” look good. I am in the field with my teacher, Barry Van Dusen, in mid-spring – out early in the day, out ready in the field where things are just beginning. It’s my first bobolink. And I’m completely happy.