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Carving a Common Redpoll, Part Three: Habitat

You have options when you provide a home for your bird.

By: Text and photography by Tom Park
Updated June 04, 2019

Choosing the right habitat can make or break a carving, so plan this stage carefully. A bird may perch on any tree, plant, rock, or other natural or man-made object within its range. However, it is usually best to place your bird in a setting where you are most likely to see it—in other words, in its natural habitat. Birds of the forest may occasionally appear in a grassland setting and grassland birds will now and then visit the forest. But I would stick with their usual habitat for a carving. In this article, I will demonstrate three different habitats that are suitable for the common redpoll.

Since birds, like other creatures, spend a good portion of their lives foraging for food, placing a bird near its favorite food source makes sense. The seeds of willow, alder, birch, aspen, spruce, and pine are favorite foods of the common redpoll. For the first demonstration, I selected a young alder branch as a suitable perch.

Alder, like most deciduous trees, will send up new shoots even when reduced to a stump, as long as the roots remain alive. I’ve decided to create a cut-off stump of a tree that originally had three main trunks. While the stump would likely send up several shoots, I will show only one. I want to keep the habitat simple so the bird provides the main focus. The stump itself, with a bit of detritus from the forest floor, provides its own base. The setting is spring to early summer, so the leaves will be fresh and new and the catkins will be yellow-green.

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