Stephen’s Island Wren. Last seen in 1894. The only known perching bird without the ability to fly.
Stephen’s Island is in New Zealand between the North and South Islands. About 1000 years ago, the arrival of the Pacific rat eliminated the Stephen’s Island Wren from all parts of New Zealand except Stephen’s Island. In 1894, the New Zealand government built a lighthouse and one lonely lighthouse keeper moved to the island. He brought a cat along to keep him company. It took about a year for kitty to exterminate the small wren population. The lighthouse keeper sent some of the dead birds his cat left on his doorstep to a museum. Twelve Stephen Island Wren’s are presently held in museum collections.
I loosely copied my wren illustration from a beautiful book I picked up at the library a few weeks ago: “A Gap in Nature – Discovering the World’s Extinct Animals”. The text is by Tim Flannery and the illustrations are by Peter Schouten. I didn’t feel like drawing a bird from a photograph on my computer screen, so I thought I’d draw one of the birds in the book. I also decided tonight was a good night to try my Micron pen. Pen is very black! The bird outline was straightforward; but when I started adding details, I felt like I was inexorably headed toward an overly dark mess of black chicken scratches. Oh well, it’s a start!
Thanks to Laura at Create Art Everyday for starting and supporting a monthly Draw A Bird Day. Thanks to M.R. Emberson at A-wing and A-way for the original blog post on the official Draw A Bird Day on April 8th. And thanks to all the cool peeps who posted a bird drawing today. 🙂
A photograph of the wren illustration in the book: