For The Birds

Day 8 - For The Birds - European Robin - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash

Since spring has finally arrived here, lots of birds, our art challenge prompt for today, have been returning to our neighborhood. Their cheery peeps, squawks, and songs never fail to make me smile. So we have a quick little 2-color doodlewash to celebrate them today. What’s always been puzzling to me is that the phrase “for the birds” is used to refer to something worthless, totally undesirable, or only meant for gullible people. This phrase originated in America around the time of the second World War. The original version was a bit more vulgar as “sh*t for the birds,” alluding to their habit of pecking at horse droppings. A strange habit to be sure, but to discount something simply because a bird might find it interesting always seemed terribly unfair. As a kid, I thought birds were the coolest simply because they had the ability to fly, a skill I could only dream about. And even if they seemed thrilled by the weirdest and simplest things, they did always seem rather happy. Something many humans I saw around me find a bit of a struggle in. So for me, if something was meant for them, it was very likely to be something that surely must create a bit of interest and joy.

This weekend I was sitting outside on our terrace enjoying a spot of extremely mild and delightful weather. A little bird flew past and landed on the branch of a tree nearby. I was immediately enraptured and spent the next several minutes just watching it cock its little head as though straining to hear something. The tiny tail would flick occasionally and then, all at once, it leaned forward and begin to “speak,” sending a signal to another bird that was just out of view. I kept waiting to see the two meet, but that moment never came. The bird flew away to other parts and I was simply left wondering why that was so interesting in the first place. What I realized was that I had just spent a few blissful minutes thinking of nothing much at all. Simply enjoying the natural world around me and the moment itself. An act so simple, yet made memorable because it just doesn’t happen all that often for me. I’m always rushing around trying to get things done and find it difficult to pause for a moment.

I’m not quite sure what that little bird was saying, and since I never saw the other bird, perhaps he was speaking to me instead. Telling me to remember to take time in even the busiest of days to enjoy the simplest of moments. Or telling me I’m daft in thinking a bird might actually be talking to me. But either way, I was struck by the exchange. And if you also love birds and posted a painting of one today, please also share the link in the comments below! As I mentioned in a previous post, the official Draw A Bird Day occurs on April 8th, but it’s always nice to celebrate and share each month that we can. Let’s spread some smiles around the world! A feathery reminder that no matter how busy we are, there’s always time to make a moment to paint and a moment to smile. And moment to remember that life would simply not have that wonderful sense of joy and hope, if it weren’t for the birds.

About the Doodlewash

Da Vinci Paint Co.: Benzimida Orange and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
 Day 8 - For The Birds - European Robin - #doodlewashMay2018 Doodlewash

Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!

Recommended4 recommendationsPublished in By Charlie
27 Comments
  1. Sharon Nolfi 3 weeks ago

    I loved birds since childhood. One of the earliest gifts I remember requesting was “a book about birds.” I still have that book! In recent years I’ve become a birder – visiting places where they are plentiful and enjoying the thrill of identifying a species for the first time. It’s incredibly fun and, as you suggest, the active observation quiets my mind like nothing else.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww that’s so wonderful to hear, Sharon! 😃💕And incredibly cool that you still have that book from your childhood! I think being a birder is a wonderful hobby indeed!

  2. Sandra Strait 3 weeks ago

    I love your bird – the light blue seems to reflect the sky. That seems appropriate as you are reflecting on birds and being one with the moment. It’s a fault of modern man that we seem to feel that we must be ‘doing’ something every moment or it’s wasted time. No such thing as wasted time! I did post a bird – https://doodlewash.com/members/sandra-strait/artwork/#PhotoSwipe1525828076062

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Sandra! 😃💕Yeah, although my motto is “DO” it is definitely meant to mean those things you love most! All that other stuff can just be so much noise. And your take on birds is fabulous!! Love it!!

  3. memadtwo 3 weeks ago

    I’m glad someone keeps remembering Draw-a-Bird Day! Another good one Charlie. (K)

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Kerfe! 😃💕 Yeah, I keep carrying the torch… it’s also a good excuse to keep practicing birds. We should definitely think about reviving it again in our little WordPress community!

      • memadtwo 2 weeks ago

        I’ve written it on my calendar for next month. Now all I need to do is remember to look at the calendar…

        • Author
          Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

          Lol… so true!! We have a printed calendar up and keep forgetting to flip it to the next month. 😊

  4. Jacob 3 weeks ago

    At first I thought you wrote ‘quick 2-minute doodlewash’ and I was caught totally off-guard there! Maybe it’s a bit late 😛 What a beauty! It was scorching here over the long weekend, and I spent some time in the garden – I originally went out there with headphones, but quickly ditched them to listen to the birds instead. Blissful is the word!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      hehe! Thanks, Jacob!! 😃💕 Yeah, 2 minutes would definitely be a record. My current record is 10 minutes, but most are done in about 30-45. 😉 Birds are so blissful! Best way to unwind!

  5. Lisa 3 weeks ago

    I’m a bird watcher from way back. I still get a thrill when I see a new one that I have never seen before. They are fewer and fewer over the years. Yet spring still finds me out there looking through binoculars. I love your bird talk!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Lisa! 😃💕Yay to birding! hehe… I agree… it’s so exciting to spot one that’s a bit unusual. I love it!

  6. Cher Cabula-Mendoza 3 weeks ago

    Such a thoughtful and delightful post, and the bird is just beautiful. Love the two-tone colors too!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Cher! 😃💕 So happy you enjoyed this one! Love painting with a limited palette!

  7. Sharon Bonin-Pratt 3 weeks ago

    Your golden breasted finch (?) is a real beauty, especially with its head turned. I’ve always loved birds. Some are very smart critters that can be taught amazingly complex skills. When we lived in Hawaii, I loved going into the Hawaiian Village in Honolulu after my ballet class and wandering through. I watched the hula dancers, drooled over beautiful crafts, and had so much fun talking to the mynah birds who talked back to me. An hour of enchantment every week.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      I’ve no idea what bird this is actually, but I think it’s another European Robin like last month. I tend to take a few liberties here and there. 🙂 Mynah birds sound awesome!! I would love that! I’ve never been to Hawaii, but hope to visit one day!

  8. Pamela Smith 3 weeks ago

    Lovely little guy,,

  9. Mary Roff 3 weeks ago

    Sweet! Love to wake to the song of a Cardinal in a nearby tree. Glad you took a moment to just enjoy this little guy.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks, Mary! 😃💕 Yeah, it’s wonderful to wake up to bird songs… a perfect way to start the day!

  10. Carol 3 weeks ago

    Observing birds at the backyard feeder is one of life’s simple pleasures for me. Your birdie would fit right in – delightful!

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Aww thanks, Carol! 😃💕 hehe… yeah, that’s definitely one of life’s best simple pleasures!

  11. June Hadaway 2 weeks ago

    This little birfie is so cute. I love feeding them. I think my favorite are the chicadees but lately the house wrens have taken over the feeders. Still fun to watch as they do usually come in pairs. Your story is great. Loved it.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, June! 😃💕 Awww chicadees are wonderful! I love them as well!

  12. Delores Azary 2 weeks ago

    I love your bird! Do you ever wish you could “speak” bird? The other day I saw a beautiful cardinal singing. He was in a tall tree in my neighbor’s back yard which overlooks my back yard. I tried to imitate the bird’s song. It was a very weak imitation at it’s best. The bird answered me, I imitated it again and it responded again. I was not sure if the bird was telling me “You are funny lady!” or if it was a case of someone who does not speak your language attempting to learn. Thanks for the painting of your bird.

  13. christybharath 2 weeks ago

    What a beautiful story! Whenever I go bird-watching, I hope that I can speak enough of the birdie language to apologize for being a creepy voyeur around them. “Sorry” couldn’t possibly be the hardest word in their dictionary. Next would be “Thank you” of course.

    • Author
      Charlie O'Shields 2 weeks ago

      Thanks so much, Christy! 😃💕And so true! Those words should be simple enough in any language!

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