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ExtraOrdinary Birds

Artwork and design by Resa Blatman. Front of postcard featuring Baltimore Oriole.

ExtraOrdinary Birds

Artwork and design by Resa Blatman. Front of postcard featuring Yellow Rumped Warbler.


Paintings & Design: Resa Blatman
Text: Ellen Reed

To highlight the value of even the most common bird life, I worked with painter Resa Blatman to create a series of seven vivid portraits of local birds — the extraordinary ordinary birds that are found along the Minuteman Bikeway and in Arlington backyards.


The portraits appear on free postcards designed by Blatman; the text was developed Ellen Reed, an Arlington-based environmental educator, wildlife rehabilitator and local bird champion.  Plexiglas boxes mounted on chainlink fence on the bikeway are used to distribute the cards to passers by.


Blatman's large scale paintings and installation work often allude to the apocalyptic threat of climate change. own back yard. These cards sound a quiet alarm that local birds, which offers so much pleasure and delight, cannot be taken for granted.

Our hope was that these engaging portraits – combined with pithy facts and recommendations for helping to protect food and habitat – will spark bird watching and encourage stewardship. Local birds are the “canary in the coal mine.” Even those that seem abundant are under threat from loss of habitat and food to development as well as the effects of climate change. Toxins in our environment, whether poisons from rodent control efforts or ordinary weed killers and pesticides in residential gardens, are another deadly factor.  


Six birds represent a mix of migratory and resident, seed-eaters and fish-eaters, nocturnal and diurnal. Tiny spirits of nature, all bring the joy of their presence into our lives, contributing their lovely song or distinctive calls, the pleasure of color and movement or the tricks of camouflage, and their sociable or mysterious natures.

BIRDS:  The Black Capped Chickadee, Northern Cardinal, Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, and Eastern Screech Owl.

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