Sunday, December 21, 2008

One Day When the Sky Grew Black with Birds.....

Three days ago, while I was finishing the Bird Girl painting, I heard a super loud explosion of someone shooting a shotgun. Scared for the dogs, I ran outside the studio to see the sky black with vultures. Here in North Carolina, we have 2 types of vultures, Turkey Buzzards ( with the unfeathered reddish head ) and Black Vultures.
These were the black vultures swarming in the sky, settling in the trees, big bodies heavy on the branches. I was so excited to see so many at once. There must have been 40 birds flying over the house and studio, quiet except the rustling of their feathers as they flapped against the wind.
Will and I stood watching in awe, the big birds leaving their shadows across our shoulders blocking the sun.
The next day we came home to them again roosting in the trees behind our house. I ran out to the woods and stood directly under the birds, them staring down at me not moving not scared. It was a mystical experience for me to be in the presence of such large birds. I felt very blessed to have had that moment in time, my only regret is that I didn't have the camera to share the sight.

Trees outside the studio

Finished Bird Girl painting


Undaunted said...

Wow, it sounds amazing. But weren't you scared?

I remember being at my Nan's house once and there were what seemed like hundreds of birds flying around the garden - they were only small birds but it seemed so creepy!

Anne Lindenfeld said...

Vultures seem almost mythical to me. Not sure why. When I was a teenager I worked on a farm most summers in Fluvanna Co. VA. Me and my pals found a vulture nest way back in the woods, and we would visit it whenever we could. If we were lucky, we would arrive when there were baby vultures -- and the parents weren't around. That was one stinky nest! The parents would bring carrion back for the babies and themselves, I'm guessing. Many a time I overstayed my visit -- and had to scoot out of the area with a angry vulture mom or dad chasing me!

Undaunted said...

Great painting by the way! I love the leafy skirt :)

painter girl said...

Hey Un D,
thanks, I'm glad you like the painting. I was looking at it again out in the studio and now I am thinking it needs more work. I always jump the gun a little.

It is funny, I wasn't afraid at all. Birds are one of my truly most favorite things....I never stop to think about being afraid, and have been beaked (bitten by bird) many times.

Hey Anne,
Oh! What a Find! A nest of vulture babies. I wish I could've seen that. Did you pick them up?

Yuck a carrion nest....must've smelled from quite a ways away.

Did the mom or dad ever catch you?
I got caught by a Canadian Goose mama and I didn't fare so well...

denise said...

Oh, turkey vultures. My son loves them - they have some interesting and revolting behavior when scared/attacked. Super cool!

They are large birds - I bet that was a spectacular sight!

JafaBrit's Art said...

oh that sounds really cool.

I got a bowl in the mail today. Oh MY GOD it is gorgeous. Just one question can I use it to serve food in and use it in the dishwasher. Oh I LOVE how even the bottom of the bowl is decorated. Thank YOu so much, you really made my day :)

bindu said...

That must have been quite amazing! Perfectly timed with your bird-girl painting too. :)

svelteSTUFF said...

Your BIRD GIRL painting is 'love at first site'! DON'T do anything more!!
If you get a chance, will you check out my 12-21 post and see if you can identify our 'local' large birds? We had originally thought them to be Turkey, now after studying the photos in your links, I'm not sure.... THANKS!

lynne h said...

ahhhh... bird girl has leaves for a skirt! she's stunning, leanne! i so love the way you do the eye and beak...

i would have been SO HAPPY to have seen all of those vultures! that must have been something... what an honor!

svelteSTUFF said...

silly me. I interpretted the skirt as more of a stylized array of 'peacock feathers'. Now I'm curious Leanne, were you intending feathers or leaves?
THANKS for the input on 'our' birds... I don't recall ever seeing any red!

Catnapping said...

i envy you such an exciting moment.

your painting is beautiful. she's seems so graceful...her hands her face...beautiful.

Robyn said...

I am so wishing you had your camera! Sounds like an awesome sight.

Love Bird Girl epecially her unruley hair.

Jacky said...

Birdgirl painting is wonderful... I love her eye and the beak mask.

How amazing for you to experience the vultures in your wood (and what a shame you didnt have your camera). What an awesome sight it must have been.

Merry Christmas for tomorrow - sending peace and love to you and yours.

Jacky xox

painter girl said...

Hey Denise and Jafa and Bindu,
It really was the most amazing experience I have had in such a long time. Breathtaking.

Thanks so much Svelte! You are so sweet. The skirt in my mind is feathers but I make feathers and leaves so similar they really begin to be both at the same time to me. Reversible images are fun and I am always curious to see what other people see in them.

thanks for coming by Catnapping!
And thank you for your kind comments!

Hey Lynne!
I am so glad you like the bird girl. Coming from you that is such a compliment. And it really was an honor that I won't soon forget.

Hey Robyn,
I so wished I had my camera too. What a picture that would've been. I have started a painting but I will never be able to do it justice.

Thank you Jacky for your lovely words!
And thank you for coming by to say Merry
Christmas. I am wishing you and yours the same and sending many wishes for a beautiful New Year!


Gwen Buchanan said...

Oh Leanne, I can only imagine the experience... what I would give for that... These birds amaze me.. I have only seen one in my life and I could hardly tear myself away....only thing that moved on the bird in its endless gliding circles were the fingertips of its beautiful wings.....
You are so lucky!!!

MadSilence said...

I come from a family of birders & when my sister & her family came to visit for Christmas naturally we had to visit NYC's Museum of Natural History. As it turns out we ended up on the bird floor in front of the display of Black Vultures. Prettier than their cousin the Turkey Vulture, the black is more social, often found in flocks. The vultures are easily identified by their size & soaring habit (don't flap their wings as frequently as hawks do). Pretty common in the eastern US.

Check them out here:

Oh I like Bird Girl. She has a wild feeling about her, like an ancient pagan dressing up as a bird.

Anonymous said...

So.. what were the birds gathering for??
Was there a buffet on?

rivergardenstudio said...

Wow, that must have been an awesome moment, standing under all these birds. I love the image of all the shadows and the dark sky... so moody and unforgettable. Your Bird Girl is so intriguing.! Happy New Year to you! Roxanne