Bird-Plant Relationship Series with “The Chat”

Bird-Plant Relationship Series with “The Chat”

This four-season series will highlight species of the Carolinas, and will be featured on the cover of The Chat, the quarterly publication of the Carolina Bird Club.





To start the series: a winter theme. This native evergreen tree, the American Holly, provides a Hermit Thrush with food in the form of fruit. Other birds will eat the fruit, including robins and Cedar Waxwings. The bird, in turn, will distribute the plant’s seed.

For the spring season, a male Northern Parula, is singing atop a branch covered in Spanish Moss. The female uses this plant to build the outside of her nest, which also camouflages it from predators. Spanish Moss is actually not a moss, but a flowering plant in the Bromeliad family.

Summer is the time for hummingbirds. They drink nectar from flowers, like this native coral honeysuckle. The female Ruby-throated Hummingbird has an interesting tail pattern, which was displayed in this painting. The bird pollinates the flower in return for the nourishment.

And last, is the fall season. A Carolina Wren perches on a Sweetgum Branch. Once the seeds in the gumball have matured, this bird species might choose to include it in its winter diet. Sweetgum trees are one of the first to pop up in a recently disturbed site, with the help of birds “planting” the seeds. The fall leaf colors are stunning.

Hermit Thrush and American Holly. Watercolor on paper.

Northern Parula and Spanish Moss. Watercolor on paper.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird and Coral Honeysuckle. Watercolor on paper.

Carolina Wren and Sweetgum. Watercolor on paper.

Prints of the seasons are available on the artist’s Etsy shop: