The next hardest part after getting someone to agree to pose for you is to find a setting to shoot them in. Lucky for me, the ravine at the end of Gina and Gill’s street provided a lovely backdrop.
After seeing the critters that had been collected in the ravine that day (see yesterday’s post), we paused to check out Gina’s bird under the overpass. A group of people had gotten together to raise money to have a mural painted under an overpass in the ravine.
The idea was less about making it pretty and more about preventing people from touting whom they love in the not-so-public forum of graffiti on rarely seen walls. Interestingly, graffiti artists do not usually graffiti over top of someone else’s art. So, putting a mural on a space that gets graffitied a lot can be effective when it comes to combatting the problem.
I am particularly fond of the bird mural in Gina’s neighborhood ravine. Gina and Gill sponsored the painting of a Magnolia Warbler. They didn’t know they were sponsoring a Magnolia Warbler until after it was done and they were informed of what type of bird they had funded.
The Magnolia Warbler is partially responsible for growing my interest in birds sufficiently that I started learning more about them. My mom had tried to get me interested in birds for many years. I did have some interest, but not enough to go out and learn much beyond feeder birds. Then, I met a woman at work who asked me to sponsor her in a fund raiser for the local chapter of the Audubon. This is when I first learned to open my ears and eyes and see birds I would have sworn I’d never seen before.
One spring, I was working from home back when my office window looked out into several trees. As I sat at my desk diligently working, I looked up briefly–just long enough to notice a beautiful small bird sitting on a branch. I watched it as long as I dared. I was torn between running upstairs for the bird book to identify it and staring at it for as long as possible so I could sear the image of the bird into my brain and identify it later.
Realizing I didn’t really know (yet) what to look for and probably would have forgotten the bird by the time I got to the bird book, I decided to make a run for it and see if I could get the book and get back before the bird flew away. I didn’t, but I did manage to remember what it looked like. Of course, it took both looking it up in a bird book and talking to my friend the next day to confirm that it probably was a Magnolia Warbler I’d seen before I believed it.
It was such a surprise to learn such small, beautiful birds are really a common sight.