Nuthatch & Chickadee, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2023

Nuthatch & Chickadee.
Handmade wall art to adorn our bedroom wall along with my previously made song sparrow.
All cut by hand with a scrollsaw and chisel from a variety of wood species. No paint or stain. See my previous posts for more details and the story highlight on my profile, which documented the whole process.

Freddie Chirpury, Daniel D. Brown PhD, 2021

May I present “Freddie Chirpury” the song sparrow! Named by @tam_a_ryn, he’s ruled our backyard since we moved in 4 yrs ago. He lives a hard life. He’s been forced to raise many a brown-headed cowbird (obligate brood parasites). We’ve seen his chicks brutally snatched by our resident blue jay Hunter multiple times. He always looks rough and disheveled by the end of the summer from trying to raise 3 broods of chicks. One year he tried to do it alone after his lady disappeared. He only successfully fledged the cowbird that time, who was twice his size.

But despite the failures, loss, and constant work just to survive, he keeps on keeping on, singing right outside our bedroom all year, year after year.

Unlike the ubiquitous and non-native house sparrows, song sparrow couples are solitary and tend to pick a territory and stick to it, defending and constantly shouting their ownership (the male anyway). This is their “song,” a repeating glorious aria declaring “this is mine, bitch, so stay the hell out!” Of course there’s some love song mixed in there as well.

One fascinating fact I learned from watching them: once they’ve begun nesting/chick-rearing, the male and female make constant little “Marco”… “Polo” squeaks, basically pinging each other to maintain contact and location awareness. “Right here. All is well,” back and forth all day every day. I’ve also learned that their voices are distinct. The others in the neighborhood just sound different to me now.

Based on a beautiful photo by Jared McCall @jaredm871@ingrainednaturecreations, I initially designed it to have branches and a full background. But this clef design popped into my head. My wife’s excitement when I showed her cemented it, and I ditched the old version.
Built from 11 species, all cut on #scrollsaw: black walnut, Peruvian walnut, spalted maple, curly maple, tree of Heaven, wenge, sapele, black locust, holly, ebony, with a cherry clef.

Cedar Platform Bird Feeder – Daniel D. Brown, 2018

Another Saturday, another quick little project. Made this bird feeder so that when we chill on our porch we’ll have lots of birdies more or less at eye level. Also the porch should stay cleaner with the lower overhang than our previous feeder. And you can’t make it any easier than this to refill. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out considering I designed it 100% on the fly as I was putting it together. Made from cheap cedar fence planks. I should probably put a finish on it. But I like raw cedar and don’t have to worry about toxicity. Most of it is strategically screwed, so it will hopefully hold up, and what little glue is in it is titebond III and should hold up to moisture (the whole thing is covered by the porch roof anyway). Worst case scenario: it eventually falls apart and I make a better one.


Cypress the Screech Owl – Daniel D. Brown, 2017, Wood Intarsia

I have been accepted into this year’s Wings & Wildlife Art Show at the National Aviary for the third year in a row. Thus, I decided to creat a piece specifically for the show. During last year’s show, the staff brought around this cute little screech owl around to my booth, where I got some great photos of him (see below). I based this piece on one of those photos.

You can purchase this original wooden artwork here.

If you are interested in making your own version of this piece, the plans can be purchased here.

The following instagram post contains a bunch of photographs going through the entire process of creating these intarsia pieces. Click through to see how it’s done: