We're so lucky to have such unique and charming bird life here in New Zealand. From cheeky keas, to the zippy hihi, to our national bird the kiwi, they all really bring something different to the table. This new collection is a celebration of their diversity.
Yellow eyed penguin and hihi sketchbook paintings / morepork painting in progress
When I visited a friend in Canada last year, I was surprised to hear how eerily quiet some of the trails we hiked were. The quietness and stillness really resounded with me; I hadn't realised that I've always taken our bird song for granted. Having the chatter removed really stood out to me. NZ birds have been on my mind ever since.
The experience made me think about the wildlife we have here and how different it is to what is found in other countries. Hikes through the bush are so much more relaxing when you're not on constant bear/wolf/mountain lion watch. Strolling along, letting your mind wander and spotting our feathered friends is a much lighter activity.
These birds provide a soundtrack to our lives and our interactions with them can shape our experience of a place.
The tui song always makes me think of summer, of walks through our native bush, as does the sound of a kererū in flight. When I was little we came across a yellow eyed penguin and her chick tucked away in the shrubs along the bank on a chilly South Island beach. I always recall that experience when I think of yellow eyed penguins. Fantails bring to mind the botanical gardens and having a friendly fantail flittering from branch to branch, following me along on my walk.
I've spent the last year trying to capture the character of some of my favourite birds through illustration, and bring them to life on paper. I think our birds are all so unique and utterly charming, they all bring something a little different to the table.