Male Peruvian Sheartail

Male Peruvian Sheartail

Common Name: Peruvian Sheartail
Scientific Name: Thaumastura cora
Exhibit: Butterfly Garden
Medium: Colored Pencil
Date finished: February 20, 2010
Observation: Finally I got the last of the Hummingbirds drawn. Shortly before Christmas vacation I managed to get not one but two nice pictures of the male Peruvian Sheartail. When the Hummingbirds first arrived at the zoo he was the first one I saw, and I immediately compared his long black tipped tail feathers to that of one of my Budgies, Jefferson, who also had a white tail with black tips (Sadly that Budgie passed away January 1, 2009 while I was coming home from that year's Christmas vacation). With the Sheartail being so small and fast I found it hard to get a good picture of him. But with patience I waited until just the right moment as he came down to feed. I was amazed to find that the picture had very little blur to even the wings, thus I knew it was a winner. The pose was also splendid. The second picture was just about as good as the first, but by that time I had already started drawing the first one. The only problems I really found were that even zoomed in on my camera's little screen it was still a small picture to copy. I think it turned out great though. I was also wanting to get more of the magenta coloring to the chin as it would look in full sunlight, but I couldn't find any good reference pictures to help on that point. But the subdued purple coloring turned out to be just fine. One of the biggest downsides to drawing this bird is that his magnificent long white tail feathers do not show up well on white paper, and they are even harder to see when I scanned it in. The tail on the picture itself actually does stand out a little as the pencil is almost a pure white while the paper, as a friend described, is more of an egg shell white. I did try to keep faint border lines on the tail, but they are still hard to see. But there is a sad story to this picture. Half way through drawing it I found out that my subject had taken ill and was in the ICU. The next day he died. He and the other five Hummingbirds the zoo got had been caught in the wild, so their ages were uncertain. The first to go was the female Sparkling Violet-ear who didn't even get past quarantine. Then it was the female Peruvian Sheartail. She was my favorite despite her small size and dulled colorings, so I miss her still. Then the two Giant Hummingbirds passed away within a short period of time. The male went first, and the female followed about a week later. Now the male Peruvian Sheartail is dead. The only one left is the male Sparkling Violet-ear who has had the honor of being the only animal at the zoo that I have drawn twice so far. We hope to someday replenish our Hummingbird numbers. Maybe with some native Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. For now, I can only admire the lone and quiet Violet-ear, and remember the amazing sights of the other four. The sweet little female Sheartail who liked to sit in good view of the many cameras. The two Giants who reminded me of living fighter jets when they flew. The tiny yet noisy male Sheartail who reminded me of my Budgie, Jeff. I will miss them.