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These bird drawings and paintings are installed in several buildings at Stanford University.

 

Captions for the other images are here.

Avian Engineering

Bushtits (Psaltriparus minimus)

watercolor and gauche, 8 x 25 inches

© 2005 Darryl Wheye
 

The life-size Bushtit nest shown here is suspended from the branches of a Locust (Robinia) overlooking the Packard Electrical Engineering and the Gates Computer Science buildings.  The cutaway invites consideration of avian engineering and a reminder that these birds use spider webs to bind lichen, moss, string, fibers, plant down and flowers along with the occasional twig, cocoon, and feather into a durable artificial tree hole that is nearly as elastic as Spandex® and water-proof as Gor-tex®.

 

Construction of the Stanford Engineering Quad (SEQ) is the product of $140 million, legions of workers and decades of effort. Construction of a Bushtit nest is the product of 140 million of years of evolution, a pair of 4-inch birds and seven weeks of work.  Humanity has effectively co-opted the construction plans of any number of species; biomimetic successes are all around us.

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The Return:  The Ravens of Green Library

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

ink and colored charcoal, and pencil , 24 x 30 inches

© 2000 Darryl Wheye
 

Stanford's Green Library ravens return each Spring to nest.  These very intelligent birds place their nest atop a flood light that gently heats the nest over night.  The area in front of their nest includes a heritage Live Oak and access to a year-round water in a large fountain (in non-drought years).  The library roof provides a large expanse where young birds can exercise their wings while gaining flight skills. 

In this drawing the adult on the nest is greeting her mate, seen by shadow behind her, as he approaches.

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