Extraordinary Ordinary Birds

Extraordinary Ordinary Birds

Resa Blatman, paintings & card design
Ellen Reed, text
2018-2019, printed cards featuring oil paintings commissioned by Arlington Public Art

APA commissioned painter Resa Blatman to create a series of seven vivid portraits of local birds — the extraordinary ordinary birds that you will find along the Minuteman Bikeway and in your own back yard. The portraits appear on free postcards designed by Resa; the text was developed Ellen Reed, an Arlington-based environmental educator, wildlife rehabilitator and local bird champion.

We hope these engaging portraits and pithy facts 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.  This project pays tribute to ordinary birds – tiny spirits of nature – and raises awareness of the need to take steps to protect them.

Please take as many cards as you like and pass them on to friends. You will find them mounted on chain link fences between Swan Place and Linwood Street. Audio tour is available here.

Seven birds represent a mix of migratory and resident, seed-eaters and fish-eaters, nocturnal and diurnal. 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.

Collect them all! The Black Capped Chickadee and Northern Cardinal are available now. Coming in the spring: Baltimore Oriole, Yellow Rumped Warbler, Belted Kingfisher, Eastern Screech Owl, Grasshopper Sparrow.

Thanks to our supporters

PATHWAYS is supported by grants from the Arlington Cultural Council, a local agency, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency, and the National Park Service. Additional support generously provided by donations from individual supporters of the arts and the Town of Arlington.