Bird Theatre / by Uschi Jeffcoat

I'm beginning to feel like a potential character in a Hitchcock film.

People have asked me where I find the subject matter for the birds I paint. And honestly, mostly they come to me! But I do have bird feeders, reside in a neighborhood with old, tall, majestic trees and slow moving creeks nearby, which helps! So Snow White, I am not...

(I also, have a few friends with an eye for artful bird encounters that will call me.)


This week has been off the charts!

It has been a week of interesting bird architecture, drama and tragedy.

Act I: This is the bluebird nest I have been watching in the box we have at home.

I monitor it daily. They were supposed to hatch on Saturday, Day 12. They didn't.

Nor did they hatch on Monday, Day 14.

Mr. & Mrs. Bluebird began moving the eggs in the nest and covering them in the days past, which I have never seen before. I was getting worried.

And then hello, this morning. This is what I found. An entire new nest built on top of the old.

I wonder if the freak snow we recently had in SC has anything to do with this doubledecker nest we now have.

I am assuming the old eggs are buried beneath? I am leaving it alone for now because both birds seem to be active and perhaps preparing for a new brood. Nevertheless, I am utterly confused by this.

And can I do this in my own world? Just stack a little covering on top and pretend the unfinished matters just stay somewhere hidden beneath all that nesting?

Act II: Most remarkably, a Shakespearean poisoning has taken place. The victims were discovered by a very young and enthusiastic naturalist.

And when I was asked - why, yes of course I want to take a few pictures of those beautiful birds!

A little life lesson here. Things that look amazing and maybe taste good are not always so good. These plants in your yard will hurt the cedar waxwing, which is what happened to these two. The cedar waxwings were simply gorging on those beautiful berries.

The plant is called Nandina or heavenly bamboo. I find the second name ironic, given the death it has caused. Nonetheless, it has promptly been removed from my own yard.

 Act III: My goal for the this week was to actually complete a watercolor,  but a small and swift little home intrusion has occurred.

This little wren decided to fly in the home when the door was open. The dog lost its mind and the bird flew ALL over, ALL the rooms and ALL through the hall, a few times.



Needless to say, not as much painting as intended has been completed this week, but quite a bit of study, drama and bird chasing has.


"Drama is life with the dull bits cut out." -Alfred Hitchcock