By Jim Sorensen
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March 10, 2021 Cooper’s Hawk in Firefighter Boots. I was inspired by group member Lynn Ellis Spicer’s story about her Dad that recently passed. Ed was a bird lover. One hawk in particular that he enjoyed spotting was a Cooper’s hawk. The boots were to honor his 44 years in service as a firefighter for his Oregon community, the last four as Fire Chief. On top of that one started visiting my yard a couple of weeks ago. I was intrigued when I did my research on these birds, people either seem to love or hate them. I read descriptions from bold, majestic and agile to noxious tyrant and avian outlaw. At the very least not a boring bird.
Jan 16, 2021 An African crowned crane in riding boots. I’ve had this crane on my list for some time. They are beautiful birds with a distinctive black patch at the very top of their head and a very cool crown of stiff golden feathers. Another unique feature is their bright red inflatable throat pouch. The riding boots were inspired by a suggestion from Lynn Briody.
Aug 30, 2020 Vulture in Toe Shoes. The turkey vulture, also known in some North American regions as the turkey buzzard, and in some areas of the Caribbean as the John crow or carrion crow, is the most widespread of the New World vultures. Society, in general, portrays them and vultures in general, as dirty, evil, harbingers of death. In reality, these scavenging birds are actually very important for the health and success of an ecosystem. By feeding on carrion, vultures help prevent the spread of deadly diseases. These special birds are incredibly misunderstood and as a result very little is known of their ballet skill.
Aug 15, 2020 My newest, Bantam Silkie in muck boots. This was a special request from Pamela Garrick. She said her Bantam Silkie isn't a big guy but a wonderful gentleman to his Girlz Miracle Mona, Mary Jane and Jumpin Mz, Jo jo. Early Early Earl ( what his crowing sounds like) and the Girlzzz. I love em.
Aug 8, 2020 Little Blue Heron in cowgirl boots. Despite the heron in the name , the Little Blue Heron is probably a closer relative of the Snowy Egret than the great blue heron. It looks much like a Snowy when its young and changes color as it ages. When they mature their heads and neck turn purple so I thought purple boots would fit it nicely.
Jul 25, 2020 My Ostrich in Musketeer boots. We’ve been watching the BBC series The Musketeers, I loved their uniforms especially their boots. I thought the only bird that could pull them off would be an Ostrich. Brenda (my wife) has a crush on one of the Musketeers and wants me to name this ostrich D’Artagnan.
Apr 23, 2020 Seagull in rubber boots. This was inspired by my friend Jane and her love of seagulls Seagulls are very clever. They learn, remember and even pass on behaviours, such as stamping their feet in a group to imitate rainfall and trick earthworms to come to the surface. Seagulls’ intelligence is clearly demonstrated by a range of different feeding behaviours, such as dropping hard-shelled molluscs onto rocks so that they break open so they can eat them, and following ploughs in fields where they know upturned grubs and other food sources will be plentiful. Gulls have a complex and highly developed repertoire for communication which includes a range of vocalisations and body movements. Seagulls can even drink both fresh and salt water.
Mar 26, 2020 Go away bird in pink fuzzy slippers . This bird in shoes was inspired by all of us hunkered down in our homes on self quarantine. It’s a Go away bird in pink fuzzy slippers. The Go away bird also known as the grey lourie is a bold and common bird of the southern Afrotropics. When they are disturbed they make their presence known by their characteristically loud and nasal "kweh" or "go-way" calls. I picked pink for the fuzzy slippers because pink represents giving and receiving compassion and care.
Bald Eagle on roller skates. The bald eagle is the national bird of the United States. It can be found on the U.S. seal, stamps, coins and much more. The founders of the United States wanted a bird to symbolize a nation they hoped would be strong and powerful and one that could soar high in the sky to represent freedom. To fit this description, the founders chose the bald eagle, which is an eagle species found only in North America. I added roller skates just for the fun of it.
Plague bird in pink high tops. I decided to draw this crow in a plague mask wearing pink high tops to honor the medical professionals and volunteers that are putting in long hours and risking their lives to care for people with the Covid-19 virus. In the 17th and 18th centuries Doctors invented these masks to protect themselves and prevent contagion. These masks have lenses on the eyes and a long cavity in the nose, which was filled with aromatic items such as ambergris, mint, or rose petals. These were meant to ward the disease away because people believed miasma (bad air) spread the disease. I picked pink for the hightops because pink represents caring, compassion and love and is associated with giving and receiving care. I decided to use a crow because I like crows and they symbolize wisdom as well as intellect and being fearless and strong
Bushtit in Mary Janes. This was a special request from my wife mostly because every time I said I was drawing a bushtit, she giggled. This is the black throated bushtit. It’s highly social and will travel in large flocks of up to 40 birds and will even join mixed-species feeding flocks. They are a great combination of being social and inclusive.
May 10, 2020 Seahawk in fan shoes. I had several requests for a Seahawk from friends in Seattle. I did some research and there are two birds referred to as sea hawks, the osprey and the sea eagle. The sea eagle looked most like the Seahawks logo so I chose it. A sea eagle (also called erne or ern, mostly in reference to the white-tailed eagle) is any of the birds from the birds of prey family. I designed the shoes with Seahawk colors and the 12 to honor fans.
Great Blue Heron in Galoshes. I remember an old line; maturity is putting on your galoshes even when your parents tell you to . This seems to fits our present situation so well during the pandemic (social distancing, stay at home, etc). You can’t tell me what to do and you’re not the boss of me is getting people killed. Be like the great blue heron and wear your damn galoshes (by the look on his face you can tell he’s not happy about it either but he’s still doing it )
Apr 15, 2020 Emu in Kiss boots. This was inspired by my neighbor Mark, a big Kiss fan. Which meant I needed a big bird to pull off those boots. The Emu more than fit that need. It’s the largest bird in Australia and second largest in the world after the ostrich. It commonly lives in the Southern part of the island, Tasmania and easily rocked those boots.
Steampunk stork in buckle boots. I’m a big fan of Steampunk and had a great time outfitting this stork in steampunk gear. Steampunk is a retrofuturistic subgenre of science fiction that incorporates technology and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th-century industrial steam-powered machinery. Steampunk stories are often set in an alternative history of the Victorian era or the American "Wild West", where steam power remains in mainstream use.
Mar 22, 2020 ❤️UK Robin in Platform Shoes. This bird in shoes was inspired by my friend Sue that told me robins in the UK look different than the ones in the US. The UK Robin is the unofficial national bird of the UK and from the flycatcher family of birds. The main similarity to the US Robin is the red breast. The European robin is a compact songbird and a common sight in many gardens, woodlands, and yards, not just in the UK, but throughout Europe. Despite their amiable appearance, they can be very aggressive and territorial birds especially when wearing those shoes.
Mar 20, 2020 I decided to draw this crow in a plague mask wearing pink high tops to honor the medical professionals and volunteers that are putting in long hours and risking their lives to care for people with the Covid-19 virus. In the 17th and 18th centuries Doctors invented these masks to protect themselves and prevent contagion. These masks have lenses on the eyes and a long cavity in the nose, which was filled with aromatic items such as ambergris, mint, or rose petals. These were meant to ward the disease away because people believed miasma (bad air) spread the disease. I picked pink for the hightops because pink represents caring, compassion and love and is associated with giving and receiving care. I decided to use a crow because I like crows and they symbolize wisdom as well as intellect and being fearless and strong.
Mar 4, Barefooted blue footed booby. A special request. Barefooted Blue-footed Booby. I had many request to do a blue-footed booby. I just couldn’t cover those beautiful blue feet. Blue-footed boobies are aptly named, and males take great pride in their fabulous feet. During mating rituals, male birds show off their feet to prospective mates with a high-stepping strut.
I drew this to illustrate what I’m calling the “Chicken on a Python Syndrome”. When I was in Vietnam (50 years ago)I had a pet 12 foot python. I fed her chickens. I remember this one chicken; I put her into the enclosure and it wildly ran around trying to hide from the snake. After a while the chicken just gave up and went over and sat on the python with a weird look on her face. I think many of us are going through this right now with all the fear swirling around us every day from the pandemic, the divisive political climate, police shootings, climate change etc., etc. and all the politicians delightfully exploiting this fear in hopes for more votes. We get tired of being scared and then get a weird look on our faces and go and sit on the python. Stay safe and keep the faith, we’ll get through this. To complete the story: I talked with a local to find out why the python wasn’t eating. She’d laid unfertile eggs that weren’t hatching and he said she was depressed. I returned her to the jungle and gave the traumatized chicken to a local farmer and envision both having a long happy life)
Dec 25, 2019 obin in checkered sneakers. It was originally a Robin in Vans but I got a cease and desist notice from them when I downloaded it on Redbubble. I guess they weren’t impressed. I get a warm feeling when I see the first robin of spring because I know warmer weather is on the way. This drawing is special to me because I drew it for my amazing nephew Terry
Dec 22, 2019 Snow Goose in Santa boots, Wishing all of you Happy Holidays. Snow goose in Santa boots. I decided to draw a Christmas goose. Domestic geese have been used for centuries as watch animals and guards, and are among the most aggressive of all poultry. There are also Mother Goose tales, such as a farmwife might have told; there is the proverbial goose that laid the golden eggs, warning about the perils of greed. Plus they look great in a Santa hat and boots.
Dec, 19 2019 a shoebill in work boots was a suggestion by Nicole Le Blanc. Shoebill in Work Boots. This is my favorite bird. Shoebills are ancient birds that have been recognized by humans all the way back to the time of ancient Egypt. All shoebill birds have massive spoon-like bills and feature gray plumage. They have a large wingspan meant for soaring and short necks, unlike their stork and pelican relatives. Shoebills use their massive, powerful bills to kill and eat their prey. I think it’s very cool that they clatter their bills to communicate with one another, but may also rarely make mooing sounds as a form of communication as well.
Dec 13, 2019 his Hummingbird in ruby slippers is dedicated to my Mom that passed in 2019. My Mom loved hummingbirds and the cactus I used as a model was a cutting my Mom gave us when my daughter was born. Also this drawing is based on one I did as a request by family members that wanted a hummingbird tattoo to remember my Mom.
Blue jay in golf shoes. This was inspired by my friends Robyn and Mark and a story that Robyn told me that touched my heart. Mark's younger brother Jay was killed suddenly in a car accident. Mark was deep in shock and grief so they went to Point No Point just to get away. They were really surprised to see a rare blue jay sighting when one landed on their porch and sat there for a while looking at them inside their cabin. They were in a different kind of shock when he hopped across the threshold, looked at each of them and then hopped out and flew away. They now see blue jays as miracle message carriers. The shoes are a nod to Mark’s love of golf.
Aug 4, 2020 PMy Golden Polish chicken in farm boots. This was suggested by Samantha Null and Cathy Liddicoatt Messer. Golden Polish chicken in farm boots. Despite their name, Golden Polish did not originate in Poland. They gained their name because their crests resembled the hats of the Polish military. Some experts believe that Spanish settlers brought Polish chickens with them when they migrated north to the Netherlands.
Jul 3, 2020 Guinea fowl in 2 tone wingtips. This bird lives in Kenya. This one is a vulturine guinea fowl. This large, uniquely beautiful, and gregarious species closely resembles a vulture in that their slim neck protrudes from a long, glossy blue and white cape, or hackles. I picked the shoes because I thought he’d like them.
Jun 10, 2020 My Cassowary in Victorian boots. They are called modern day dinosaurs and are classified in the dangerous category with alligators and wild cats because of its long dagger-like toes. But what excites scientists about the cassowary — a large, emu-like, flightless bird — is its distinctive look. With its black iridescent feathered body, its blue, turquoise and magenta neck and horned crest or casque. It’s been described as looking like a high-fashion dinosaur so I had to put it in high-fashion boots.
Jun 27, 2020 Cockatoo in creeper sneakers. This is a Major Mitchell Cockatoo in orange leopard print creeper sneakers. Named for Major Sir Thomas Mitchell, an explorer and surveyor of Australia and admirer of the species. It’s also called the Leadbeater Cockatoo, its scientific name "leadbeateri" commemorates ornithologist Benjamin Leadbeater. I mostly drew it because I thought it was pretty and I thought the shoes fit him.
Jul 21, 2020 Pelican in shrimper boots. I was deciding what boots I should put on a pelican and ran across my neighbor Morganne and her sister from Louisiana and they suggested shrimper boots.There are more than half a dozen species of pelicans, but all of them have the famous throat pouch for which the birds are best known. These large birds use their elastic pouches to catch fish. The American white pelican can hold some 3 gallons of water in its bill. Young pelicans feed by sticking their bills into their parents' throats to retrieve food.
Apr 27, 2020 Woodpecker in logging boots. This is a Pileated Woodpecker, one of the biggest, most striking forest birds in the US. It’s nearly the size of a crow, black with bold white stripes down the neck and a flaming-red crest. Look (and listen) for Pileated Woodpeckers whacking at dead trees and fallen logs in search of their main prey, carpenter ants, leaving unique rectangular holes in the wood.
Mar 4, 2020 Great horned Owl in Bunny Slippers. They are also known as the tiger owl (originally derived from early naturalists' description as the "winged tiger" or "tiger of the air"), It is an extremely adaptable bird with a vast range and is the most widely distributed true owl in the Americas. Its primary diet is rabbits and hares (one of the reasons for the slippers besides they’re cute), rats and mice.
Mar 18, 2020 Toucan in clown shoes. I though this was appropriate given all the stress and fear out there these days. A good reminder to play more. Toucans are highly social and playful birds. That’s one of the reasons I picked clown shoes besides color is how playful they are. Toucans often spend time sparring with their bills, tag-chasing and calling. Experts believe they play to fill the time it takes for their food (fruit) to digest. This would be a good practice for many of us.
Feb 25, 2020 Secretary bird in red high heels. I had 2 suggestions from friends that wanted a bird in red high heels. Secretary Bird in high heels. The origins of the secretary bird’s name are much debated. One theory is that the feathers jutting out behind the birds head reminded 19th-century Europeans of the quill pens that secretaries tucked behind their ears, while its grey and black body was reminiscent of their tailcoats.ts. A more recent theory is that the name derives from the Arabic ‘saqr-et-tair’, or ‘hunter bird’. The secretary bird is a large bird of prey found in grasslands and savannah across Sub-Saharan Africa. It is one of only two birds of prey preferring to hunt on foot (the other being the caracara). At about 4 feet tall, its height allows it to spot insects, lizards, snakes and rats in the tall grass.
Spoonbill in swim fins. This is a roseate spoonbill, the only spoonbill native to the Western Hemisphere. As the name implies, the roseate spoonbill also has a large, spoon-shaped bill, which it sweeps back and forth in shallow water to capture prey. The specialized bill has sensitive nerve endings which help the birds search for food in shallow water. Their diet primarily consists of crayfish, shrimp, crabs, and small fish. They are often seen wearing green swim fins and goggles to compliment their pink color.
Cody Blackbird in high tops. Blackbird in high tops. I drew this for the Cody Blackbird Band. They contacted me after a friend showed them my raven in high tops and asked to use it for T-shirts and other merchandise to be sold at his concerts. I added the fedora and sunglasses that Cody wears to customize it for them.
Feb 29, 2020 Blue footed booby in flip flops Blue footed booby was suggested by my friend Heidi. The challenge was not to cover up the beautiful blue feet with shoes. I ended up with flip flops but to accommodate the structure of their feet I had to put them on the wrong feet. Try saying blue footed booby in flip flops really fast. Brenda laughs every time she hears it.
Blue jay in punk boots. Steller’s jay in punk boots. I drew this in honor of the Steller’s Jays that visit my house. I put this one in punk boots because like many punks are known for being a bold and aggressive species. They are related to the common blue jay and are frequently found scavenging in campgrounds, picnic areas and my yard.
Barn owl in penny loafers. The barn owl is the most widely distributed species of owl in the world and one of the most widespread of all species of birds. The barn owl is found almost everywhere in the world except for the polar and desert regions, Asia north of the Himalayas, most of Indonesia, and some Pacific islands. The penny loafers were my idea (I still have a pair like them).
Feb 7, 2020 Roadrunner in Red Cowboy Boots. The roadrunner is a long-legged bird in the cuckoo family, from the Aridoamerica region in the Southwestern United States and Mexico. The scientific name means "Californian earth-cuckoo". Its also known as the chaparral cock, ground cuckoo, and snake killer. The cowboy boots are nod to the region they come from and are handy for stomping on snakes.
Kingfisher in duck shoes. They are noted for their spectacular dives into water. They are worldwide in distribution but are chiefly tropical. These vocal, colourful birds are renowned for their dramatic hunting techniques. They typically sits very still, watching for movement from a favorite perch and then swiftly dive on their prey, in this case a lizard.
Puffin in hiking boots. This was requested by my daughter Katelyn. These are seabirds that feed primarily by diving in the water. They breed in large colonies on coastal cliffs or offshore islands, nesting in crevices among rocks or in burrows in the soil. Hiking boot seemed to fit with their habitat.
Jan 25, 2020 frog mouthed owl and baby in low tops. Tawny Frogmouth and baby in low tops. The Tawny Frogmouth may look like an owl, and although it is related to owls, the Tawny Frogmouth is more closely related to Oilbirds and Nightjars. The Tawny Frogmouth is found throughout mainland Australia, Tasmania and southern New Guinea and it also occurs in India and across southern Asia. This bird is so perfectly camouflaged during the day that it may be living near you, without you ever noticing. The only clue might be their low, humming ‘ooom-ooom-ooom’ call, heard mainly at night.
King Vulture in Biker Boots. King vultures have a very colorful look that distinguishes them from their vulture relatives. They are predominately white, with black tails and wing tips. They have piercing, often straw-colored eyes and multicolored (yellow, orange, and red) heads and necks. I added the boots because I thought he’d look good in them.
Golden pheasant in Arabian slippers. I picked the shoes first because I liked reading books about the Arabian Nights. I thought this pheasant fit the style. The golden pheasant, also known as the Chinese pheasant, and rainbow pheasant. The genus name is from Ancient Greek khrusolophos, "with golden crest", and pictus is Latin for "painted" from pingere, "to paint".
Magpie in wingtips. They walk with a swaggering strut which works well for shoes. They sometimes gather in flocks, even seemingly living communally, and will band together to mob a raptor. This is a black-billed magpie which I found out mate for life. One of the most notable Black-billed Magpie behaviors is the so-called “funeral”—when one magpie discovers a dead magpie, it begins calling loudly to attract other magpies. The gathering of raucously calling magpies (up to 40 birds have been observed) may last for 10 to 15 minutes before the birds disperse and fly off silently.
Nov 18, 2019 Stork in wingtips. Storks have been part of many cultures beliefs for centuries. By observing the storks, which travelled south to warmer climates every year, returning with the spring, the ancient Slavs had the perfect example of their reincarnation belief. For the ancient Slaves, winter was the dark part of the year, symbolizing death. Thus, they assumed that storks – carrying the souls of the dead – travelled south, to a beautiful paradise. And with the arrival of the spring, the storks would return, and complete the cycle of reincarnation. To this very day there is a common common anecdote that storks bring babies, new life to the world (the image was very common in the cartoons of my childhood). And because of this it is considered a great misfortune to harm, chase away, or kill a stork. To do so would bring on a great and heavy curse. That is why today, in many villages of northern Serbia, Hungary, Ukraine, Slovakia, and Poland, one can see numerous storks roosting in chimneys, on telephone poles, or church steeples. No one disturbs them, and everyone looks on them kindly even when they wear wingtips.
Nov 19, 2019 Flamingo in stilettos, A special request from Brenda. Flamingo in Stilettos. The word "flamingo" comes from the Spanish word "flamenco" which means fire, and refers to the bright color of the birds' feathers. Not all flamingos are brightly colored because the strength of a flamingo's coloration comes from their diet. Flamingos hold their bent bills upside down while feeding, often for several hours a day, so they can filter out their food while skimming the water. All this plus their tall majestic bodies look great in stilettos