Arlene Powers Bird Art and Discussion Site

Posts tagged ‘Kakapo’

The Kakapo Support Project is underway, PLEASE help!

Chirping Central has the page up now to buy Raffle tickets for “Vanishing Species”.
The tickets are only $1.00 US. The winning ticket will be drawn at the American Federation of Aviculture conference on August 18, 2012. We will ship the painting to the winner, so you do not have to be in the US to buy tickets!!! All of the funds will go to the Kakapo Recovery Project. Thanks so much for following my Work in Progress!

Here it is again for your viewing pleasure, LOL!!!


Vanishing Species – Step Away From the Painting!!!!

Candy says to step away from the painting, so it is done for now. As promised, I have a very special guest blogger, Mary Rose, from “Chirping Central”. For those of you who do not know Mary, all I can say is that she is a human dynamo. Instead of asking what she does, we have to ask what she does not do. She hails from Australia, is VERY involved with birds, bird organizations, and sits on several boards. She is the president of the Arizona Seedcrackers, is on the board of the Maricopa Audubon Society, and is involved in getting Tovari Castle open to the public. Her organization, Chirping Central” is all about the birds, what more can I say. Well, I could say a lot more, because this is only the tip of the iceberg, but………here she is!

I am excited to once again be working with Arlene to raise funds for one of the many endangered birds of the world. The Kakapo of course is one which has an amazing story and is semi close to home for me. It is a bird which at one time was thought to be extinct but which has had an amazing recovery due to the efforts of many dedicated people doing all they can to save the species. What is great about this project as well is the level of information which the project makes available to the public. After all if we did not know what was going on how could we help? It is through these communications that we are aware of achievements and setbacks and it is a vehicle for all of us to be able to contribute in some fashion. Whether you donate directly, participate in a raffle for original artwork by someone like Arlene, or simply engage in discussion about the issues it all helps the birds and I am proud to be part of the effort.
This piece of artwork is of course based on a photo taken when Barbara Heidenreich visited the project and it is wonderful that Barbara shares her photos to further the cause. I have been following the “Vanishing Species” blogs by Arlene, seeing the development of this piece of art at every stage and can hardly wait to see the final piece – which I am sure will be absolutely stunning. Arlene is an amazing artist and has the ability to capture the essence of the birds she paints. The lucky winner of this piece will be proud to hang the artwork on their wall.
So for me I am a true believer that extinction for many of these species is optional. Unfortunately most of the time decisions surrounding which birds to work with revolve around dollars and cents, but projects like Arlene’s help to get projects going and keep them going. It does not matter how large or small the contribution is – it all helps. How many “bird people” do you think are around the world? If everyone joins forces and contributes the impact can be huge – meaning that extinction truly is optional. We have the power to save the birds – we just have to care and be engaged. Personally I believe it is our ethical and moral responsibility.
This reminds me of a quote from Theodore Roosevelt from 1916 – “Birds should be saved for utilitarian reasons; and, moreover, they should be saved because of reasons unconnected with dollars and cents… The extermination of the Passenger Pigeon meant that mankind was just so much poorer…And to lose the chance to see frigate-birds soaring in circles above the storm, or a file of pelicans winging their way homeward across the crimson afterglow of the sunset, or a myriad of terns flashing in the bright light of midday as they hover in a shifting maze above the beach—why, the loss is like the loss of a gallery of the masterpieces of the artists of old time.”
I think this sums it up very well. While Theodore was not specifically referencing parrot species the principle is still the same. When we lose a species we are so much poorer. Don’t let the Kakapo become another Passenger Pigeon or Carolina Conure. We have the power to stop this process and this raffle is your chance to help the Kakapo – one of the many species in trouble. I encourage you to seek out information about the Kakapo at and on the Facebook page at!/KakapoRecovery. There is a wealth of information on these pages.
So once Arlene’s Kakapo piece is finished I will be getting tickets loaded on the Chirping Central Conservation Fund page for the raffle. I encourage everyone to buy tickets for your chance to own this amazing piece and also to help the birds. Every penny counts and all funds raised from this raffle will be going to the Kakapo. Thank you again to Arlene for producing this wonderful piece and allowing me to be part of the process.
Mary Rose

As soon as Mary gets the website to me, I will post it here, on my website, on Facebook and wherever it can be posted! …..Oh you want to see the painting,LOL. BTW, comments are welcome!!! The more the merrier! Now where was that brush????   Sunny, come back here with my brush…… we go again…….sigh……….

Vanishing Species WIP Almost Done!!!!!

As a slave to five parrots and staff for two cats, it occurs to me that parrots and cats these days JUST have no respect! Looking back to my childhood days, (Stop ROTFL it was not THAT long ago!!!) we always had a cat and a dog around. Now the cats these days go wherever they please……..on my computer desk………on the counter…….on the kitchen table. They leave hair EVERYWHERE. The parrots throw food around, take one bite of something and throw the rest down, and leave feathers EVERYWHERE. But back in the day, you NEVER saw a cat on the counter or table. There were no parrots in the house then, but I am sure they would not have thrown food away, we were NEVER allowed to waste food (especially vegetables like broccoli, brussel sprouts, and cauliflower). So as I sit here continually fighting cat hair and feathers…..all I can say is…..CATS and PARROTS these days… respect.

As you can see the painting is ALMOST done, just a few more leaf details and a few more washes and Candy will be saying “Step Away From the Painting!”


Vanishing Species……Still Continued……..

Was last night the bird full moon or something? My house was full of critters last night. AND not just the usual parrots who live here. It all started with a call from Margaret, my friendly local Liberty Wildlife Rescue and Transport volunteer. “Hi Arlene, we have a baby Harris Hawk here, would you mind dropping it off at Liberty Wildlife in the morning when you go in?” Of course, I forget to mention that I had volunteered to be the West side pick up station for the volunteers who cannot make the additional 45 minute trek from here to Liberty Wildlife. So most of the R&T volunteers have driven at least 45 minutes when they get here. HOWEVER, I rarely get more than one or two birds a week to triage and transport. LIKE I was saying, it must have been the BIRD equivalent of a full moon last night. By the time Margaret got here with the baby Harris Hawk, she had two more calls, and the baby was soon joined by a baby Morning Dove and a small Turtle. As she was leaving, she got another call about a Mallard, who soon joined the party! My fellow volunteers were SO happy to see me add to the flood of critters coming in through the check in window this morning,LOL. Needless to say, it was ‘hopping’ all morning. We would just about get one bird checked in and another one would show up. NOW don’t get me wrong, I LOVE baby birds, and Liberty Wildlife is JUST chock full of “Too cute for words”, but I wish the situations which happened to separate the babies from their parents DID NOT happen. But it does, so volunteers spend the spring and summer trying to help the lil cuties grow up into fierce big critters who can go back into the wild.

And with all of the bird madness going on right now, there is still an update on the current WIP! This painting is rapidly……OK, maybe not so rapidly, coming to a close. The leaves are taking a little bit of time, but don’t worry, it will be finished very soon! Then you will be able to hear from my next special guest blogger! Can’t leave you without a little bit of mystery!

Vanishing Species……….continued

Why do cats have to walk on your keyboard just when you are trying to write a blog? Why do cats recognize the person in the room who is deathly allergic to them and then rub allllllll over that person? Why do the parrots love to chew on my brushes when I am trying to paint? Why do they LOVE to scream when I am on the phone? What is up with them chewing all of my jewelry, and any sequins, beads, or shiny stuff on my shirts? REALLY,  I love the critters, but HAVE to contemplate these issues. Sometimes I feel like the only person on the planet asking these types of questions………. then attend a bird event or an art event showing my bird paintings! It is east to spot the bird person! They see a painting, do a double take, then get a certain look on their face. It is a kind of smile, then the eyes roll, then a smile and a look of affection. As one bird person to another, YOU know the look! That starts the conversation. Christina Scherer and I had a booth at the Sunnyslope Art Walk this weekend, and we had quite a few of these conversations, which let us know that we are not the only crazy animal lovers on the planet! We heard stories of funny things birds say and do all evening. They are endlessly fascinating, and a great source of joy, even with all of the mess, destroyed clothing and ruined brushes and pencils!

So the painting of Sirocco is progressing, even with all of the work of putting an art booth together. It is nice to have more time to work this week, and hopefully you will see much more progress at the next session! Don’t forget, you can click on the photo and see a much larger version!!!! Back to the drawing…ooops…….painting board!!!!


Vanishing Species WIP……..Moving Forward!

DEJA VU………for those of you who have been following my blogs, this will be a lot like a blog I wrote about “What do people think when I leave the house with parrot poop on my clothing?” Just substitute ‘watercolor’ for ‘parrot poop’ and ‘arm’ for ‘clothing’ and you will have an inkling of what I did today……LOL. Well guess now my family will have to add to the poop inspections before I leave the house, and put watercolor on the growing list. Some days it just doesn’t pay to leave the house. And what did I ever do without a family to keep me on the straight and HUMBLE!?!?!?!? Guess that is what families are for. At least you know if I had watercolor on my arm, I was working on the WIP today… so here is the progress report. Who knows what we will have to add to the family inspection of Mom leaving the house next?!?!?!??!

Vanishing Species WIP Continued…..

Here is the progress from this week, Sirocco is starting to peek out of the non existent foliage, LOL. But being the imaginative audience that you are, just picture it for now. The fun part is just starting – all the negative painting of the feathers. As you can see, the dark area is in now, lots of juicy watercolor. Don’t forget, you can click on the photo to see it a lot larger!
WOW, it has been a busy week for rehabbing. Our area has had a lot of wind, the birds are out there doing their “bird” thing, so there are lots of orphans who have been blown out of the nests, with no sign of parents. Add the usual injuries to this and it keeps a lot of volunteers hopping at Liberty Wildlife. The weather is so confusing this year, it doesn’t seem to be able to decide whether it is going to be warm or cold, dry or rainy, I am soooooo confused, don’t know whether to wear long pants or shorts, sweater or short sleeves. Maybe by next weeks blog the confusion will sort itself out, LOL. Meanwhile back to painting…..


“Vanishing Species” WIP

Thanks Barbara, for that Great Introduction to this Work In Progress! Also a GREAT BIG Thank you for the reference photos, without them, this painting would still be just a twinkle of an idea on the back burner! SO now that the artwork is in progress, after looking at photos and thinking about the plight of the Kakapo, the painting seems to want be named “Vanishing Species”. As the work unfolds, it will become “clear”, LOL.
Those of you who work with watercolor probably know the frustration of stretching paper, so on this full sheet painting I am taking advantage of the amazing system you can check out at there are videos to show how to use it, and let me tell you – it makes life much easier for me. The birdies don’t learn any bad words, hubby comes home to a cheerful wife, and the people at the grocery store see a very nice person on watercolor paper stretching days. A few words to the wise……………….stretch the paper first, THEN do the drawing. Several drawings have gone down the drain and had to be redone after stretching. Pencil will wash off the paper during the process, LOL. Not that I would know personally, er….uh…. um….. anyway, the drawing is done and it is time to put that first bit of paint down! Excuse me while I put Sunny away, she is trying to chew up my paintbrush……………..Ummmmmm Charlie, NOT That paper………be right back need to put Charlie away, she is trying to chew up my paper………………….yes Loki, you can have a nut…………………OK, YES, everyone gets a nut…………………….Hey Tinkerbelle, what do you mean you don’t want a nut……………………..Birdie, please get off of Tink’s cage……………………

Some paint did get on the paper today despite the flock’s demands. The beak is starting to take shape. Don’t forget, you can click on the image to see a much larger version! You may even be able to see the pencil marks to give you an idea of where this painting is going. Speaking of going, it sounds like it is time to make a trip to the grocery store for more nuts! Be back soon!

Meet my surprise guest blogger, Barbara Heidenreich

To kick off the new WIP, our distinguished guest, Barbara Heidenreich,is blogging today. Thought it would be best for you to be introduced to the kakapo by someone who has met one personally! Without further ado:

“I don’t think I have ever met a parrot as a fascinating as the kakapo. They are flightless, nocturnal, solitary and huge. (Up to 4 kilos!) They are also on the brink of extinction. There are only 127 individuals left in the entire world. People often ask me “What about in captivity?” The answer is there are none in captivity. They all live on predator free islands that are managed by the New Zealand Department of Conservation. It can be difficult to comprehend just how few birds that really is and how much work is going into to increasing that number.

The Kakapo Recovery Team consists of only nine full time staff. They are field biologists, population geneticists, researchers, evolutionary biologists, conservationists, parrot experts and wildlife warriors all focused on a mission to save a most amazing bird. I was privileged to spend a few weeks with some members of the team. Talk about passion for their job! These people endure some incredibly difficult conditions to do their work. One of my traveling companions told me stories about hanging out the side of a helicopter with the radio telemetry receiver to track birds on the side of a cliff. I was so impressed with just how committed they are to their mission.

My small contribution to the project was to help the team train Sirocco the ambassador bird for the project. Sirocco became famous when a video in which he mated with Mark Cawardine’s head went viral on YouTube.   His amorous antics made him a celebrity, but his behavior was a bit of a problem. We had some great success working with him. You can read more about his training on my Good Bird Inc blog.

I also showed the team how to use positive reinforcement to manage day to day interactions with Sirocco and to also teach him how to present natural behaviors for educational opportunities. Kakapo have a unique natural history and behavioral repertoire. Sharing this with the public was one of the goals of the team.

Another goal is to raise awareness and funding to help save kakapo. The team is working hard towards creating a large sustainable population of kakapo. This takes public support. One of the things I absolutely adore about the companion parrot community is their wonderful commitment to help save parrots out in the wild. That connection with the bird in your own life is so powerful that it can lead to conservation action. Amazing! I know my birds caused me to want to know about kakapo and after having the chance to meet Sirocco and getting to know him as an individual I can’t help but want to do what I can to make sure kakapo are here on this earth forever. Here is your chance to be a part of that mission.

Arlene has a new project! A kakapo painting based on one of my photographs of Sirocco. And it could be yours. The original art will be raffled off and all proceeds will go to The Kakapo Recovery Project. You can play an important role in saving kakapo from extinction and get to adorn your house with the image of quite a unique parrot personality, the one and only Sirocco. I hope you will enter to win. It will be a one of kind piece featuring a one of a kind bird. To learn more about kakapo, visit Also check out the Kakapo Recovery –The Official Site on Facebook.!/KakapoRecovery

Barbara Heidenreich

A great big THANK YOU to Barbara for this guest blog. Don’t forget to check out Good Bird Magazine at   this is a great magazine, just loaded with information on positive reinforcement. As the WIP progresses, we will keep you updated on how and where to buy raffle tickets.

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