The Memory of Birdsong

by | Jan 14, 2021

Birdsong oil painting of marsh at sunrise by Daniel Ambrose. Available at Hughes Gallery

Birdsong, oil, 30 x 60 in.

A childhood roaming waterways where tall grasses grew inspired Birdsong. Red-wing blackbirds trilling in the springtime. Showy males, swaying high atop bending reeds, flashing their scarlet badges.

I created this painting for my show at Hughes Gallery, opening January 18th. For more info inquire: Barbara,

Hughes Gallery Postcard of Daniel Ambrose artworks

Hughes Gallery Postcard

Many red-wing blackbirds populated the early stages of this large oil painting, Birdsong.

I made them dominate the blazing sky, singing towards the light. For weeks, I lovingly painted life into their gleaming black feathered bodies.

Painting my memories of red-wing blackbirds, filling the air with vibrant sound.

Painting and thinking about how I hardly see them anymore.

And I am not the only one. According to this article on All About Birds, birds are vanishing from the sky.

The longer I painted, the more I thought about those boisterous birds and their songs.

Thinking about blue jays, cardinals, flickers and mockingbirds. Common as the neighbors in my youth. Bright colored shapes darting among sun dappled leaves. Everywhere, birds.

Birds are falling from the sky.

Picking up my palette knife, I started scraping out the smaller birds in the distance. Then painted over them with the sky color.  Made them disappear into paint, into time.

One by one, I painted them out until only the largest one remained in the foreground.

I hung the painting on the wall and thought some more. For a couple of months.

Thinking of the hours I put into that one bird. Thinking about the Light.

Sensing the painting would be stronger as the essence of birds.

So I painted over the last bird, and it too became a memory.

Only the light remains. The light of hope.

And the memory of birdsong.


  1. Dianne Cavarretta

    Having seen this scenery in person, I agree, there are fewer birds in the air, fewer squirrels in the trees and fewer deer in the woods. We are our own worst enemy. But this beautiful painting of hope is what we are all living through right now. The birds will fly again and the forest will be full of animals, once this frightening time is past. Thank you for sharing your wonderful painting of hope. Stay well and kind to the earth.

  2. Maggie

    I adore your bird paintings. They are also a source of joy. Your writings bring them to life and give hope for a better world.

  3. Connie

    So beautiful and true. You and your art are too good for this world.

  4. Eileen Kennedy

    I grew up in and sill live in an area ringed with salt marshes. Red winged blackbirds are a favorite of mine and so are these vistas with tall grasses and winding rivers. This painting is a beautiful but poignant reminder of what Rachel Carson foretold in Silent Spring.

  5. Daniel Ambrose

    Thank you Eileen for your kind comment. What an inspiring place you must live in.

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