The spring's birding activities gave rise to a project involving an old cardboard box and a collection of bird encounters.
The male and female Northern cardinals.
YOU WILL NEED
oil pastel crayons
a little water
field guide to birds
a long strip of cardboard
a pencil or pen
The Eastern towhee and the blue jay.
Begin by making a list of the backyard birds you've seen this spring. If you can't remember, consult your nature journal for help.
Depending on the length of your cardboard trip (we cut ours from a long box), pick the number of birds that will fit inside the allotted space. Now, revisit your list and pick the numder of birds from your list that will fit.
American robin and Eastern towhee.
Using your bird guide and nature journal, use a pencil to sketch the birds and identify them in equidistant spaces along the cardboard strip.
Now fold your cardboard strip into an accordion-like fan so it can stand on its own later.
Then outline the birds with oil pastel crayons. Be creative and vary your colorings to include beaks and feathers if you like.
Eastern bluebird and red-bellied woodpecker.
Finally, use your watercolor paints to fill in the birds' coloring. Vary your brush strokes for color depth, and alternate colors in areas where the feathers have multiple shades or hues.
An ex-post-facto tip from the Eldest (one he didn't follow): After allowing the birds to dry, you can go back and deepen the color a bit by repainting them. The cardboard absorbs and mutes the bluish and green paints more than the red or white, but it also offers a neat contrast for white feathers.