Monday, 6 February 2017

The Batsford Prize - Why Birds

I think I've figured out that I want to focus on birds for this brief for a number of reasons. Firstly, when I was younger I was a member of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) and have a bit of a soft spot for birds through some of the things i learnt from being a member. I have vivid and fond memories of doing the annual birdwatch with my grandad in his back garden, where we'd sit and identify different species of birds and tally them up on a chart that would then be posted back to the RSPB, in order for them to try and look at populations of different birds species. Since then I've had a little soft spot for birds and conservation and feel that it's something that would fit this brief well. Combining that with the fact that birds are funky and pretty fun to draw (for me anyway), I think this is the route that would be best for me to go down.

I've started my research by looking at endangered birds and the reasons why they're endangered:

Giant Ibis: hunting, disturbance, deforestation
New Caledonian Owlet Nightjar: 'mysterious', only 50 adults, rarely sighted
Kakapo: hunting, introduced species, deforestation
Kagu: dogs, habitat loss
Forest Owlet: habitat fragmentation, habitat loss
Philippine Eagle: loss of habitat, deforestation
Bengal Florican: habitat loss, agriculture, illegal hunting
Christmas Island Frigate-Bird: ants, habitat loss, pollution, phosphate mining
Sumatran Ground Cuckoo: deforestation

I know this is only a small bit of research but I was honestly shocked at how often 'habitat loss' or 'deforestation' popped up. All of the birds (except the Owlet nightjar, which is apparently just a mysterious bird) are endangered due to deforestation and habitat loss. I think it's shocking because sometimes the only reason some of these birds are endangered is because of our own selfish actions in damaging their environment for our own sake. I think I should do some more research on each bird and wittle it down to a smaller list. I also think I'm going to start roughing soon and think about how I can combine these birds and their habitat loss into one image.

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