Thursday, June 14, 2012


Browsing through my Pinterest boards I notice that without thinking about it too much I've collected images that take me back to a very happy time during my childhood and with the help of all these amazing artists I am able to tell my story.

Even at a very young age I loved and studied birds....
Bird rearing became an integral part of my life on the farm.

The farm workers knew that I would look after any creature that was wounded or tossed out of it's nest on a stormy night. In the beginning many of them died which broke my heart but I found out everything I could about caring for them (my brother was a font of useful information) and soon I became very good at it.

One particular incident still makes me smile. After successfully releasing a family of weavers to the wild I was delighted that they still came back for the odd visit. Over time the visits petered out and I thought they had forgotten their ties with humans, but early one morning when the Zulu induna (headman) was walking down to the milking sheds there was a confusion of sound overhead and out of the mist a whirring flutter cluster of weavers landed on his head. He nearly passed out from the shock! When he told us about it later we rolled about in hysterics. Since it amused us so much he told the story often and it was just as funny with each telling.

There might be a time in my dotage when I'll become the bird lady again :-)


  1. OH!! A great post, I love birds so much and didn't know some of these artists... great collection!

  2. what a wonderful childhood story/ memory! and you told it beautifully told with images of bird art.
    i enjoyed them all, but my favorite is A Sea of Dreams by Bianca Van Der Werf. and my #2 is Katherine Ace...

    ...oh heck who am i kidding? i liked them all

  3. great story... I share your love of birds... and dominique fortins wonderful work...

  4. Such a wonderful works!
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Robyn - I love this post and hearing about your connection to birds - and how magical that the weavers returned to the headman!

    I have a book on my 'to read' list that you might be interested in - Lift by Rebecca O'Connor. Here's the link ( US Amazon) but you can read about it there.

    inspirational artwork as always!

  6. Gorgeous!! Every piece here. Thanks again for a great intro to many new artists. Plenty to keep me busy here on a return visit. I think once you've held a bird you never forget the wonder of it, especially if it can eventually fly out of your hands. Wondering which bird you might be if you took flight........

  7. what a joy the birds are. this spring (who knows why?) I've had a wide variety of visiting and nesting birds. what a treat it is to just watch their goings on!your post is a spring delight and I will be back to visit the artists again!

  8. Such wonderful images and a beautiful story from your childhood. Thanks for the She talks to birds post.

  9. You always share the most wonderful artworks and stories! I did a reverse search for the girl with bird image using TinEye and found this... Now I have a few more artists to follow on facebook :-). Thank you.

  10. I can just see you wandering around with a bird on your head!
    Lovely images as usual.
    I once rescued a young crow, I think about 7 or 8 generations down still come to visit, when the young crows are just out of the nest the parents bring them to visit. Of course it may be the dog food they are after as well.

  11. What a wonderful way to tell a story. Thanks, Robyn.

  12. Robyn, Wonderful story! I love birds too! Lovely art from all. Thank you for this.xoxo

  13. Best thing ever to read first in the morning. Thank you. I hope you will keep sharing your funny touching stories with us every now and then.

    I'm sure those weavers plotted to descend on the headman and give him that scare. From whatever little I know about birds and animals, I do know that they have a sense of humour :)

    The images are gorgeous too.

  14. Hi Cindy,
    Pinners on Pinterest have a bad habit of dropping the credit on images. Thanks for finding the photographer for me! I've been able to replace the image I used with a much clearer one.

  15. I so love that! I use birds a lot in my personal work too... Lovely thank you...

  16. I know, it gets harder and harder to figure out who an artwork was made by. I think it happens even more on Tumblr. I got lucky with TinEye (I was curious whose work it was, it looked so old-timey). Glad you found a better image, too.

  17. You introduce me to such beautiful work - thankyou. Lovely to see how we are touched by our connection with birds and the beauty when they share for a moment their world with us.

  18. Valerianna, there seem to be a lot of us who love birds in the blog world. Birds of a feather...

    Rebeca, A sea of Dreams is so unusual. Food for thought!

    Cat, alas Dominique doesn't have her own website, but I did find her on FB and a few gallery sites. Her work really hits home for me.

    Helena, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Judy S, I followed the link and I'm sure my husband and I will enjoy it. It's on my wish list. Thanks so much for the recommendation. xxoo

    Annie, that's a difficult one. I love owls or any raptor. Perhaps I would be a falcon. What would you be?

    Lyle, I enjoyed seeing your nesting box surprise in your latest post!

    Theresa, thank you! xox

    Cindy, I did think the first image had a certain charm and wondered if I should change it again.... but now I'm just letting it be :-)

    Penny, lol .... the dog food is quite an attraction.

    Thanks Jo :-)

    Annie C, the post just seemed to compile itself!

  19. Thanks Priya, I hadn't planned to tell the story ...It just tumbled out. Glad you enjoyed it.

    Thanks Lori, it was a fun post to do.

    Jennifer, I'm thinking of your beautiful stone bird sculptures on your blog. Birds are such lovely shapes for art.

    Thanks Lynn :-)

  20. So wonderful to hear your story about saving birds while viewing the wonderful bird art. Robyn, you've reminded me about at time when I lived at my Aunts house, a mocking bird was hit by a car, I ran up and saw it lying in the street and thought it was dead, but I could see it was still breathing so I brought it inside; my aunt had an all pink kitchen with a pink bird cage on the frig as decoration; I put a soft cloth in the bird cage and laid the bird inside. About an hour later I heard the bird chirping in the cage. I ran to see; it was perched on the post looking no worse for wear, I brought the cage outside and let it go. I think your bird memories are wonderful, so glad you shared them here.

  21. ha ha! Its funny his name was "headman" too. One of my sisters was a big bird, animal rescuer.

    This post brings so many stories up for me. Birds! I once had a big tropical bird follow me around an old trading post, saying Pretty baby. I love you. Pretty girl. I love you. Eventually it got on my shoulder and everyone thought that was sweet till it wouldn't get off. I kept calm, while the owner and others tried to make it hop to them, it sunk these "claws" into my shoulder more and more.

    Thought i was going to be stuck that way for rest of my life! ;)

    some great new work here. Enjoy the weekend.

  22. OH...what a fabulously delightful magnificently illustrated story...I'm new to Pinterest and what your shared with us here gives me a whole new curiosity about what's possible...

    I'm currently working on a series titled 'Bird Watching' and if I hadn't become a painter I would be an ornithologist...
    fly high.

  23. When you were raising Bug I became enthralled with your updates about his progress.

  24. What a lovely post. The images are all so beautiful but even more so because of the way they relate to you. Thank you for sharing.

    I spent 15 years in South Africa, 4 years in the Transki and 11 in Kwa Zulu Natal. It felt like home, even through I was born in the US, and I miss it terribly. Your blog takes me there. Thank you

  25. Dear Robyn, I love these images too. Birds have such grace and illusiveness, but when we are lucky enough to hold one in our hands and heal it with our warmth, that is magic. Lovely, dreamy post!

  26. I am already called the bird lady so you know that loved this post.

  27. Birds in art are special I think - they speak to many of us. And then of course, nests and eggs...the wonder continues.Thanks for some lovely images once again. F

  28. R-I just love so many things about this post: the talking to birds; the caring for birds and other creatures; the birds on your head; and becoming the bird woman again. Such beautiful images; and such gentleness. Thanks. B

  29. What a lovely story. I like all these bird themed images.

    Wishing you a wonderful Sunday!
    Gaby xo

  30. Oh how lovely! Every single one of these images is gorgeous (I especially love the ceramics!) and I enjoy so much thinking of you as a bird woman - can totally see you with a Hadeda or something on your shoulder. I too remember when you were looking after Bug (so sweet) and now I see he was just one of many bird wards in your lifetime... How cool!

  31. a beautiful post and images Robyn, and a lovely insight to your childhood. Thanks for sharing.

  32. this has been kind of asking me to remember it since your post, and I found it...

    The bird is a creature that has a very special feeling of trust in the external world, as if she knew that she is one with its deepest mystery. That is why she sings in it as if she were singing within her own depths; that is why we so easily receive a bird call into our own depths; we seem to be translating it without residue into our emotion; indeed, it can for a moment turn the whole world into inner space, because we
    feel that the bird does not distinguish between her heart and the world's.


  33. I too love birds, and they tend to show up in my creations...even when I am not expecting them. Thanks for this wonderful post, I look forward to visiting the links you provided.

  34. Jeanie Tomanek is a favorite of mine. Your life stories reveal to me your sensitive and warm heart.

  35. every day on reasonable weather i sit on my porch with two intents: relaxation, and bird watching. today i saw my first eastern bluebird in my yard not three yards away!

  36. What a wonderful wealth of birdy artists! As you know, my work often contains birds; there's something magical about them. I loved reading your story of nursing the birds back to health, and the end part is hilarious! Most of the artists are ones I didn't know, so I'm off to investigate their sites! Thanks!

  37. Amazing, so much to go back to in the last few posts I've been catching up on.

    I never really understood why artists put birds on heads so often but after the induna's story I think I understand!

  38. Beautiful. I am a bird lady and my friend Heather sent me here because your post reminded her of me. :)

    Now I must visit all these artists' sites, and brainstorm a way to integrate birds so beautifully into my own work.

  39. Hello Robyn,
    I hadn't realized how long it's been since I visited! I guess my blog reading and posting has suffered somewhat, lately.

    Once a bird lady, always a bird lady - I don't think you ever lose what you really are.

  40. One of the pluses of Pinterest is how much one learns about themselves when they start to see patterns and interests form.. just from the gut reactions to what you are pinning.. memories and stories come back when you see what images you are truly choosing for yourself.

  41. love
    love this Robyn
    a post with wings
    I too
    and talk
    with the birds
    and sing
    crows diving
    on the cool breeze...

    xox - eb.
    on the wind

  42. what you achieve each post is artistry in itself... with a theme and beautiful words, you string together gorgeous and intriguing images that feed me and others... you must be one special person to know in 'real life'...
    a wonderful story! there is something about connection with nature like that - i reared a squirrel that my son found in the road after it had fallen out of its nest as well...

  43. Thanks Gypsy!

    Linda S, it must have been a joy to see the Mocking Bird had recovered.

    Mansuetude, lol... it's quite funny remembering but not so funny when raucous birds with "claws" refuse to let go. Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful Rilke quote!

    Donna D, I look forward to seeing your Bird Watching series.

    Leslie, oh he was the dearest little bird!

    Cathy, where did you live in the Transkei? It's amazing how many people have emailed me after my Wild Coast posts.

    Roxanne, seeing them fly off is such a reward.

    Lisa at G, glad you enjoyed the post. I'm remembering your bird sketches now that you mention it.

    Fiona, yes there is something magical about finding a nest with eggs.

    Thank you Barry. The beautiful images made the story.

    Hi Gaby, I hope you're enjoying your break.

    Kendalee, lol...a Hadeda would be fun!

    Kim S, glad you enjoyed the post.

    Kim H, birds do have a way of showing up don't they?!

    Jann, there are so many of us who are drawn to birds. Birds of a feather flock together :-)

    Velma, I would love to see a bluebird!

    Sharmon, yes I am picturing your beautiful paintings with birds. I've even posted one .... or two in a previous post.

    Emma, have you never had a bird sit on your head? :-) There is a very good chance that it will leave a little "gift".

    Kate, I followed you back to your blog and thoroughly enjoyed your art.

    Karine, we're in the same boat. Time flies especially when you're busy.

    Donna W, I wonder if the master minds behind Pinterest realized there would be so many benefits.

    eb, I am picturing the crows swooping over your rust experiments flapping on the wash line in the breeze.

    Mary Jane, thank you :-)
    How wonderful to rear a squirrel!Not an experience I have had ... though I did have a squirrel dormouse.

  44. Just catching up after a long time away from blog-land. Thanks for this post, and the intro to some fabulous artists.