Redwing Blackbirds / by Chris Maynard

 Redwinged blackbirds, 14" x 32".

Redwinged blackbirds, 14" x 32".

Blackbirds continue to inspire me. It is the time of year. Having eaten all seeds off the sunflowers, they continue to raid the goose feed. They don’t take a lot and I don’t mind because I get to watch them. Three kinds have come: brewer’s, redwing, and one solitary yellow headed, which is rare around here. It is the flocks of the male redwing blackbirds that most attract my attention, because of their bright red and yellow-feathered “shields”—their showy shoulder patches. My attraction seems natural because after all, their bright feathers are meant to be seen. But how to incorporate their patches of bright red into a feather composition? When all I have to work with are naturally colored feathers, I thought to either scatter random small red feathers in a piece or do what I did here; use a single naturally reddish feather shed from a turaco to be the symbolic shoulder patch emissary.