How Sketching Birds Changes the Way You See Them

Throughout the summer birding project, we have been encouraging new birders to try different ways to observe birds. Sketching is one way to deepen your observation skills.

We asked a master illustrator, David Sibley, to share tips on how to draw, and we invited readers to share their attempts. Below is a selection of what you sent us, along with insights into how it changed your birding experience.

Tell us in the comments: Have you tried sketching? Has it changed the way you observe birds?

How Sketching Birds Changes the Way You See ThemJia-En Ho

“Drawing birds has given me a new perspective on birdwatching, allowing me to slow down and appreciate their features through each brushstroke.”

Jia-En Ho, 21, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Cassandra Myer

“When you are up close and personal, you see common details that lead to a better understanding of bird physiology, plus barn owls have the sweetest faces.”

Cassandra Myer, 70, Viera, Fla.


Josiah Haley

“Drawing birds makes me look at them more closely and find all the details. It helps me like them even more.”

Josiah Haley, 9, Lock Haven, Pa.

Jared Nielsen

“I find observing birds changes how I draw them. Rather than attempt photorealism, I sketch as quickly as possible to capture the birdiness of my subject.”

Jared Nielsen, 44, Baltimore, Md.

Margaret Dimon

“This started as a drawing and became a collage which I’ve just completed. It’s a mockingbird, and some of the pieces of paper are piano sheet music.”

Margaret Dimon, 70, Naples, Fla.

Marisol Dominguez

“Drawing birds has changed the way I observe them. I now see more details about their features that I would regularly ignore. I see how delicate their beaks and feathers are through drawing since these are typically translucent.”

Marisol Dominguez, 29, El Paso, Texas

Mari Kamidoi

“My favorite color is brown, and I am very fond of birds that many people may overlook just due to their ‘boring’ coloration. I think that the different shades of brown that the ovenbird has, as well as its spots, are very beautiful.”

Mari Kamidoi, 20, Ann Arbor, Mich.


Ryan Spaulding

“I’m inspired by the Western kingbird. They are also one of the earliest morning singers around, making these funny noises that sound as if a marching band conductor is warming up. While that might sound obnoxious to some, I find it to be comforting against the quiet desert morning.”

Ryan Spaulding, 38, Bishop, Calif.

Paul Heaphy

“During lockdown I heard a cooing outside my window every morning. An owl or a pigeon? It was the one sound that soothed me over the sirens. I often find the little visitor peeking in my window or hanging out on my fire escape.”

Paula Heaphy, 51, Brooklyn

Dean Cole

“I found this poor bird lying on the sidewalk in front of my house. She was quite dead but for no apparent reason. There was no sign of feline-induced trauma, and nothing appeared broken.”

Dean Cole, 66, Bloomfield, N.J.

Isadora Davis

“I’m sending my drawing of a kingfisher (based on a photograph), which I drew a couple months ago for a class at the Art and Design High School in Manhattan.”

Isadora Davis, 17, Brooklyn, NY

Roi Amaru García Ruiz

“I am absolutely passionate about birds. It is a pleasure to share some draws with the birding community.”

Roi Amaru García Ruiz, 10, Foz Bay, Lugo, Spain


Pablo Herráiz Carbonaro

“I am sending you a sketch of a lesser spotted woodpecker (Dendrocopos minor) seen last winter in El Pardo, Madrid.”

Pablo Herráiz Carbonaro, 46, Madrid

Julie Frost

“My drawing with watercolor markers. A common visitor to my backyard, where they loudly caw each morning if I am late with the daily in-shell peanut allotment.”

Julie Frost, Rochester Hills, Mich.

Jaki Hurwitz

“Mr. Sibley is correct — after spending two hours trying to reproduce a picture of a Carolina wren, I realized I could close my eyes and picture every marking on that bird. Three days later, I was rewarded by seeing that bird at my feeder and immediately could identify it.”

Jaki Hurwitz, 71, Neavitt, Md.

Sketching Birds


– 출처 : https://www.nytimes.com/2023/07/21/science/birds-sketching.html

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