Posts Tagged ‘bird’

Unless you are a self-avowed curmudgen, you can’t help but admire these birds, and because I happen to have a free pass to one of their breeding grounds (Sauble Beach on Lake Huron), it was love at first sight for me.

Source: Why the Piping Plover is the ultimate emblem for World Shorebirds Day

Loving something, and then adapting it into a piece of textile art is another thing! But it’s a challenge that I welcome.

I used my own photographs of the plovers at the beach for guidance, and found fabrics that would convey the elements of the plovers’ habitat (lake, shoreline, beach grasses). The background is pieced, and the bird is machine appliqéd on top. You can see that I used a piece of driftwood as the hanging device.

I donated this piece to the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory‘s silent auction fundraiser that year (2007).

If you’d like more information about the Piping Plovers at Sauble Beach, visit this website: http://ploverlovers.com/.

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Responding to a craving for some fall colours and fresh air, I decided to get away to the country for the weekend, up to my folks’ cottage. The sky was full of drama on the drive up – all sorts of cloud formations – and the leaves were exploding into their brilliant oranges, yellows and reds, especially through the Hockley Valley area.

While making sure to keep my eyes on the road, I am always on the lookout for birds. At one point, I pulled over to the shoulder and grabbed my binoculars and camera when I saw a gathering of large birds circling overhead. They turned out to be Turkey Vultures, likely on their fall migration towards Florida or Texas. 

Turkey Vultures circling overhead

And later that day, I saw another bunch of them roosting in a tree at Sauble Beach.

Turkey Vulture roosting in a tree at Sauble Beach

Anyhow, I did not rescue a vulture, but rather a water bird that was not designed to move about on land.

Here’s the story. It was a beautiful day for a walk along the shoreline of Lake Huron, even warm enough for shorts and bare feet! So I did just that, and came upon a bird that was sitting a short distance from the water’s edge – facing the water.

The bird was weak, and couldn’t get up.

My first instinct was to leave it alone, so I gave it a wide berth, snapped some photos, and continued on my walk. On my way back, of course it was still there, and seemed as though it was in distress, and couldn’t get up on its legs.

When I returned to the cottage, I got out my bird field guides and, reviewing the photos I had taken, easily identified it as a Red-necked Grebe. Then I proceeded to scour the phone book (Yellow Pages) hoping to find a wildlife rehabilitation centre. I tried the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Grey Sauble Conservation Authority, heck, even the OPP, and got nowhere. I was getting frustrated, and I wanted to accomplish something before the sun went down. I decided to start at the front of the Yellow Pages and go through page by page to see whether there was anything useful. And there, under the category of “Parks and Nature Trails” was a listing for the Bruce Peninsula Bird Observatory.

I have known about the BPBO for several years now, since my brother volunteered on their board, and I’ve supported the valuable work they do at the banding station in Cabot Head. So I called the number and from there was able to get in touch with the current administrator, Don Douma.

As soon as I described the situation to Don, he said “Well Grebes can’t walk on land, so I suggest you try to pick the bird up and place it in the water.” Wow, that sounded like a fairly simple solution! I got my work gloves out the car, and an old towel, and went back to the beach. I instinctively knew that, even though the bird seemed weak, he might try to jab at me with his substantial beak, so I distracted him with the towel (he went for it right away) and then put my hands firmly around his body and walked with him into the lake. I set him down gently in the water, and immediately he started paddling slowly off, away from shore. Whew!

Red-necked Grebe – a close-up

I have no idea how this bird ended up stranded on the shore, but it was a big relief to be able to return him to the water before nightfall. If you’re interested in learning more about Red-necked Grebes, there are some interesting facts here.

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I am pretty much always inspired by the natural world (except for spiders and centipedes). There is so much colour inspiration for example, in nature.


While camping recently, we were serenaded all weekend by the little ovenbird, which one of my bird guides describes as having a voice much louder than you would expect from such a small bird. This little guy has beautiful, subtle colouring.

tree lichen – colour study

Check out the colour combination in the photo above. This would be an interesting pallete to replicate in a quilt.

Scarlet Tanager

Now this fellow’s finery is certainly more flamboyant than the ovenbird’s!

And now, back to quilts!

detail – baby quilt

Here’s what I’m working on right now … just finishing the quilting and then all that’s left is the binding for this baby quilt. When it came time to think about how to quilt it, this time I didn’t allow myself to a) do the obvious quilt-in-the-ditch or b) over-think the design. I just basically went by instinct and started in the middle with the curved lines, and followed up with the diagonal parallel lines going outward from there. I’ll be sure to post a photo when it’s done.

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I was taking a break from my “big” quilt project (a bed-size quilt) and looking for something quick and easy to do. Something led me to Jean Wells‘ book Intuitive Color and Design (in my collection). She explains a great method for curved piecing, so I dove into my scraps and put together this small piece. The idea for the bird outline silhouette  just came to me out of the blue. Please comment!!


Here’s a close-up.

Nighthawk - close-up

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Spring is coming

Guess what? On Tuesday morning (March 2), on my walk to the subway station, I heard and saw my first robin of 2010! Along with the bountiful sunshine and not-so-cold temperatures, I am sure this is a sign that spring is coming (check out the link if you want to hear what the robin’s song sounds like).

Pictured here is a selection from my developing bird quilt series. I’d like to make another one that’s more action-oriented, with the robin pulling a worm out of the ground.

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A recent creation

I responded to a call for 12.5″ blocks (via the Ontario Crafts Council) to be assembled into a quilt to celebrate the 5th anniversary of Ontario’s Greenbelt. I wanted the background to reflect the diversity of the greenbelt – forest, farmland, blue sky – a welcome escape from the city. On March 3 the quilt will be unveiled! Can’t wait to see it…   

Cardinal block for the Greenbelt quilt

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