Here is the latest picture I have completed in art class. It is a pastel portrait of a bird called “the sooty tern”, which I learned about during our trip to Key West in March.
The sooty tern came to our attention because the only nesting colony in North America is on Bush Key, one of the islands that make up the Dry Tortugas National Park, where Fort Jefferson is located. (It is not an endangered species; it has a lot of nesting places in tropical areas, even a few in the Pacific around Baja California in Mexico.) However, in the course of our tour of Fort Jefferson, we learned quite a bit about the sooty tern, which really is an amazing bird.
Sooty terns can stay aloft for years at a time! They can do this first because of their light, aerodynamic body, which means they can fly without spending much energy, but also because, for some reason, the sooty tern does not need deep sleep. In fact, nesting may be the only time some of these birds ever land.
They are very noisy birds; in Hawaii, the name for the sooty tern is ‘ewa ‘ewa which means “cacophony.” Their normal life span is between 30 and 40 years.
I hope you enjoyed the combination nature lesson/art show!
Have a great weekend everyone!