Opportunity knocked this week in the form of a pileated woodpecker that died on the roof outside my office window. Cause unknown. The chance to study and paint it lay before me – literally. How could I pass it up? Would you? There was only one thing to do: climb out the window, retrieve it and get sketching.
It’s quite a privilege to hold a bird like this in your hands, and just a bit grim. Keeping it without a permit would be a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, so I worked on the page, took a few reference photos, and laid it to rest in some nearby woods.
What’s in a name? I was curious about the name “pileated,” so I did a little research and learned that it means having a crest covering the pileum, which is the top of a bird’s head from bill to nape. The word comes from the Latin word pileus, which was a brimless felt cap worn in ancient Greece.
Welcome and thanks to all the new followers of Drawn In who found me through Turning the Pages: A Look at the Sketchbooks of Artists. Sorry to start you out with a dead bird—I promise to mix it up in the coming weeks!