Local Eats / by Chris Maynard

Bird Berry 4.

Bird Berry 4.

I treasure the variety of wondrous foods that are easily available to me. All I have to do is go to the supermarket and in a seemingly magical way, I can taste bananas from Honduras and chow down on baked cakes with wheat from the Palouse, sugar from Barbados, and eggs from chickens fed corn from Iowa. I can have a variety of sodas with many who-knows-what ingredients from who-knows-where. I don’t have to know anything about where the food comes from, how it is raised, or how it gets here. I just buy and eat.

But appreciating and understanding where food comes from gives me a good feeling of connection.

So when I look at birds foraging, I feel a bit of a longing for local eats. I have been watching and admiring the way the local songbirds find their simple meals. The robins pull worms from the earth, the chickadees investigate every crevice in the trees for insects, and the cedar waxwings gobble the bushes’ winter berries.

The feather used in this piece is not from a local bird but is from a South American amazon parrot kept in a nearby aviary. The red in the feather was perfect for portraying berries the cedar waxwings were feasting on next to my house.