Robins are the early bird that I love. Not only do they show up early in the day, but they are among the earliest to return in the spring.Their song is distinctive, and although they are common (they are one of the most abundant birds in North America), they are much beloved as they hop about the lawns and pull out worms.
I took this photo in March in my brother’s tree. It’s an American Robin (so named for its range from Alaska to Mexico).
Robins have a brown-black head and red breast (ranging from maroon to peachy-orange) and their bill is mostly yellow. Female and males look the same, although the female’s plummage is sometimes paler.
The robin’s diet is 40% worms, grasshoppers and other invertebrates, and 60% berries and fruit. It hunts by sight and hearing, and it’s typical to see them hopping, then stop and cock their heads, listening for movement of bugs in the ground. They love the rain because it brings worms to the surface.
This brings to mind the song “Robin in the Rain” by Claire Senior Burke, and sung by children’s musician Raffi. “Robin in the rain, what a saucy fellow/Robin in the rain, mind your socks of yellow/Running in the garden on your nimble feet/Digging for your dinner with your long, strong beak…”
This saucy fellow, caught pulling up worms this spring, was the subject of a recent print in my “Little Bird” series: Little Robin.
The photo is used as a reference, and the line drawing is sketched onto the block.
Below, the carving starts. I was tempted to make his breast red, but I wanted it to match my other prints in the “Little Bird” series (all black and white) so I used multiple cuts to get the textured look of feathers instead.
Here, the block is all carved up and ready for the first inking.
Printing underway in the studio…birds on a wire!
Hand-pulling the print; a mirror image of the carved block.
Robins drying in the studio, along with one of the other prints in the series, “Little Grey Jay”.
The final handmade print “Little Robin“, and edition of 35 prints.