As an artist and lifelong birder, its always been in my head to do a huge art project revolving around birds.
The idea that most stuck out to me was drawing all the birds of North America. But just drawing all those species just didn’t seem like enough, even though drawing all those species in itself would be a large scale project that would take many years. So I took inspiration from one of the great bird artists in the Americas, John James Audubon. Around 1820, Audubon setto his project of drawing all the birds of North America. After 14 years his project ended up as the Birds of America book which contained 435 plates of about 700 lifesize birds painted in watercolor.
With that inspiration I decided to start my Birds of North America Project. It will be defined by the American Birding Associations definition of North America. This consists of the 49 continental states, Hawaii, Canada, the French Islands of St. Pierre et Miquelon, and the adjacent waters of up to 200 miles from land or halfway to a separate landmass/country. From the species in this area, the species labeled with code 1-3 will be included in this project. Each species in this area has been given a numbered code based on its abundance in the ABA area of North America. Code 1 species like Canada goose are widespread and very abundant, code 2’s like the whooping crane are still regularly seen but are less abundant and have a more restricted range. Code 3 species are rare, they are ones that show up in very low numbers but annually, an example is the tropical parula.
With those two factors used to make the list, that brings the total number included in this project to 826 species. Though this number can change, every year the ABA reviews their list and may add, remove or change codes depending on changes in the species population and occurrence.
Each of these 826 species in this project will also be drawn lifesize and in an appropriate setting. To get each bird as close to scientifically accurate and as true to life size as possible, Cornell’s Birds of the World, which contains measurements of several different parts of a bird will be used to achieve this.
After each species is drawn, a blog post will be created featuring that species. This way people that live in north america can learn all about some of the species that they can see in their own backyards.