In thinking about my birds a lot this past year while spending so much time in isolation, I've realized I'm not one of those birders who is into exact facts about the birds. I don't know their exact technical names, or exactly what size they are or how much they weigh. I'm more interested in their behavior, what they do, how they do it, and when they do things. But even more than that, I'm more interested in their personality, their expressions, and yes, their feelings. When I get up close and personal with a bird through 500 or 700mm lenses, I can see those things. I can tell if they're happy, sad, angry, sick, or tired. I can tell if they're feeling lost or lonely. I can tell if they're longing for something, if they're dreaming of a better place, or if they're looking for a mate. I can tell if they're a bossy bird, who runs the show, or a follower, who just wants to be part of the crowd and fit in. Being an artist, I try to integrate these things into my work, both my photo art and my paintings. To me, it's a joy to be so close to these feathered creatures, and to see they have feelings, emotions, thoughts, and expressions, just like we humans do. Their presence in my life is a blessing, something I crave every day. I gladly invite them into my space, and in return, they reward me by showing me parts of themselves no one would ever even notice. I hope and pray every day to be able to continue this journey for a long, long time, and I hope I am successful at portraying these little living and breathing beings in the most intimate way possible.