The Birds

I enjoy them. They’re quirky, they bop around, yank live bait out of the ground, and they fly. I like almost everything that flies. Wasps, not so much, airplanes, yes!

As Summer lingers, along with 90+ temperatures, we are looking forward to autumn. Even as I write, Judy is bringing up the seasonal decor. I just noticed a gourd filled cornucopia setting before me. To my right is a pumpkin shaped candle, and above a book shelf are an array of paper leaves in gold and russet. Sensing the mood, if not the cooler temps, I drew this gathering of birds piece.

The most prominent birds in our area are the geese that sweep in formation over our house each morning. I haven’t seen them today, so maybe they are already en route to their winter homes. They are a dramatic site and every year I gawk at them in wonder.

We had a canary for some time when I was a kid. Maybe that nurtured my love for birds. Judy doesn’t like bird feet. I like them, they are well designed and serve their purpose. When I first showed this illustration to Judy, she was bothered that I didn’t draw their feet. At her behest, I added them. This is ironic, because Judy doesn’t like bird feet. I suppose she finds them contrary to the soft elegance of the rest of the bird. I find them appropriately designed appendages well-suited for their purpose. And they’re fun to draw.

Penguins are always fun. They are some of my earliest zoo memories. I once watched as two penguins pecked at each other, seemingly in the throes of a disagreement, when out of nowhere a third penguin walked between them, disrupting the fight. The two  combatants turned to pursue this tuxed peacekeeper. It was rather fun.

I drew this Primping Penguin for Joshua Barker’s delightful book, Say It Fast Five Times, a collection of witty tongue-twisters. Again, bird feet are fun to draw.


Did you collect leaves to take to school so that you could place them beneath paper and rapidly color over their imprint. That was a highlight for me. I liked it more than going to the blackboard to solve math problems. I liked getting a tetanus shot more than solving math problems. Anyway, that little art and craft project brings back good memories. As does drawing a turkey around your hand, another autumnal ritual.

This is a grown-up, faked example of the hand-rutkey. Always a crowd pleaser.

Autumn is a favorite season, although I’m not as fond of the winter that follows. I like color and winter is soft on color. The muted grays are okay for a week or two, but the sooner the color, the better, for my tastes. I did the bird meeting at the top a few weeks ago in early anticipation of the the coming season. I call it Fall Meeting. You can imagine the purpose yourself. Maybe they are pondering their route southward, perhaps discussing menu and recreational options. Or it may be a bird congress, debating a bill, or amendment to the bird constitution. Who knows what birds are up to? Whatever the purpose of this gathering, they make a colorful site among the changing leaves, don’t you think?

Thanks for reading.

Fall Meeting ©2018 Ed Koehler.  Primping Penguin ©2016 Ed Koehler,  Turkey ©2015 Ed Koehler