Meanwhile, in Australia…

Day 3: Today’s Inktober word was “collect”. I suppose I could have just drawn my animal model collection, but it was too obvious. Also, too many animals! So… what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of animals that collect things? A magpie, of course! The word is practically synonymous with the urge to gather things to line our nests with, to wear, to satisfy our craving for whatever we think is beautiful.

But I got to roaming around the internet, and discovered another bird that captured my imagination — the Satin Bowerbird! Natives of Eastern Australia, these birds build “bowers” — structures of grass and twigs, and strew the ground around with blue things — birds of yore had to make do with flowers and such, but the modern Satin Bowerbird fellow has all kinds of blue things to choose from: bottle caps, soda straws, plastic toys, to name just a few! They seem to have a sense of aesthetics, too — could it be that in this species, the artistic ones get the romance?

So what would happen if an Australian Magpie met up with a Satin Bowerbird? Well, it probably wouldn’t talk about shiny things, because the Australian magpies aren’t actually magpies! The settlers named these handsome birds for ones they knew back home that looked similar, but they are not corvids as are true magpies, though they are related. So, some biological inaccuracy here, but I did get the geography right! Perhaps our spiffy black-and-white fellow has a few things to learn from his blue friend. If Australian magpies start stealing shiny things, remember—you heard it first here!

Inktober 2016 3.jpg

Inktober, day three — ink and coloured pencil, 3.5×5.5 inches. My intended limited palette is expanding, though I stuck with the same pencils. The blue and yellow ocher make a nice green!

For some lovely photos of the Satin Bowerbird, check out this collection by Graeme Chapman.

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