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Bird Art

 

Palermo's growing curiosity of threatened species has led her in the direction of endangered birds.  With 192 species classified as critically endangered, there is a lot to learn, and a lot to paint!  Palermo will be donating 10% of the profits of her bird collection to Charleston's Local Center for Birds of Prey, The National Aviary, and BirdLife International, a partnership providing sustainable solutions for conservation on a local and global level. 

"Andean Flamingo"

Andea Flaming, bird, wildlife, conservation, art, laura palermo, paintings by palermo, south america, borax mining, impressionism

36 x 36

Acrylic on Canvas

These large birds are extremely sociable and gather in flocks of hundreds, and sometimes thousands, at feeding lakes in South America. They are filter feeders who seek algae and diatoms in shallow water, usually salty. The alkaline and salt lakes that these birds prefer are found high in the rugged terrain of the Andes at heights of 2,300 to 4,500 meters above sea level. The flocks migrate from place to place in a quest for suitable food, often travelling hundreds of kilometers in a single day.

Only a single egg is laid by each female, and many young flamingos do not survive until adulthood. The Andean flamingo lives for around 45 years in the wild if it doesn’t succumb to hunting or predation.

The Andean flamingo’s decline began with massive collection of eggs from the World War II era through the 1980's. The eggs were used as a food supply by the region’s increasing population, but greatly impacted the flamingos, sending their population into a sharp decline. There was an average population of 100,000 prior to the egg collection era, but this human interference cut the flamingo’s numbers to a third of what they once were. Today, the flamingo’s population may be stable or even slightly increasing. Sadly, the flamingo eggs are still sought after as a local delicacy.

 

A new threat to the Andean flamingo is borax mining, which occurs heavily in its range. Though borax is largely harmless to humans, it destroys much of the birds’ reproductive capacity and causes growing flamingos to develop deformed skeletons. Bulldozing lake beds destroys food supplies, and mining activity in general disturbs the birds and ruins their habitat.

 

Various nature reserves and flamingo reserves have been established to protect crucial feeding and breeding grounds for this species. Egg collecting has been successfully reduced by official action, though it still occurs. Efforts are under way to create more protected areas and to educate locals in the ecological value of the Andean Flamingo.

"Limpkin"

48 x 24

Acrylic on Canvas

These wetland birds are a species of low concern, however, there is almost no data on Limpkin population numbers and trends. In Florida, it has declined from abundant in the nineteenth century to uncommon and local in the present day. In 1970 some 8,000–10,000 individuals were thought to live in Lake Okeechobee alone, but in 1994 an estimate suggested 3,000 to 6,000 pairs remained in the entire state. In Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America it is much more numerous. Partners in Flight gives the species a 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating it is a species of low conservation concern. 

 

Limpkins were once abundant in ​Florida, but were easy to catch or shoot and were almost eradicated by hunters. Habitat loss, including conversion of wetlands to agriculture, flood control, and development, further contributed to the decline. With more than half the wetlands in central and southern Florida having been lost during the last century, apple snail habitat (their main food source) has been greatly reduced. Water-level manipulations that harm apple snail populations still occur in the widely engineered and highly political water management environment of southern Florida. Nevertheless, recent accomplishments and future plans for wetland restoration in the greater Everglades and the Upper St. Johns River Marsh offer hope for improved apple snail and Limpkin habitat.

"Harris Hawk"

Harris Hawk, Hawk, falconry, gold leaf, painting, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, bird

24 x 24

Mixed Media on Canvas

Original and Prints Available

    Harris's Hawks are highly social raptors, often found in groups with complex social hierarchies that engage in cooperative hunting and breeding. Groups can consist of up to seven individuals, including both related and unrelated adults of different ages. These gregarious hawks employ some of the most sophisticated cooperative hunting strategies known in birds, and they feed according to dominance hierarchies within the group. Group members perch in tight proximity, and territories are occupied and defended year-round. Aggressive encounters are infrequent and relatively benign between members of a group, usually taking the form of foot grabbing. Harris Hawks soar at high altitudes, sometimes plunging into dramatic dives, or even hovering and flying backwards. Sky dancing, consisting of a dramatic dive, may be used as a territorial display, or by males courting females.

    Harris's Hawks are fairly common, but their populations have declined by around 2% per year between 1968 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey resulting in a cumulative decline of 62%. Harris's Hawks are vulnerable to habitat loss due to urbanization and oil and gas development, which reduces habitat quality and prey availability. An additional side effect of urbanization is a shift away from natural perches—hawks increasingly perch on power poles, which often results in electrocution, sometimes killing several members of a group. Thankfully, electric utility companies are working to retrofit many utility lines to reduce electrocution risk for raptors.

"Keen Kestrel"

American Kestrel, falcon, painting, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, bird

30 x 24

Mixed Media on Canvas

Original and Prints Available

The American Kestrel is North America’s most common and widespread falcon but populations declined by about 50% between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimate the global breeding population to be 4 million.  Current declines stem from continued clearing of land and the falling of the standing dead trees these birds depend on for their nest sites. The American Kestrel is also losing prey sources and nesting cavities to so-called “clean” farming practices, which remove hedgerows, trees, and brush. An additional threat is exposure to pesticides and other pollutants, which can reduce clutch sizes and hatching success. For kestrels in North America, a large problem with pesticides is that they destroy the insects, spiders, and other prey on which the birds depend.

"Barn Owl"

Barn Owl,owl,  birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, laura palermo, bird, portrait

Despite a worldwide distribution, Barn Owls are declining in parts of their range due to habitat loss.

On October 30, 2011 Charleston's Avian Conservation Center received a call about a Barn Owl entangled in rope in a tree in Georgetown, South Carolina. A Volunteer Staff member responded to the call by cutting the bird free and bringing it to the Center’s Avian Medical Clinic. The bird was very subdued and exhibited a left wing droop with significant swelling and bruising at the bird’s elbow. An x-ray revealed that the bones were not fractured, and the bird was monitored in Critical Care for several days as bruising receded.

As the bird’s treatment progressed, it was moved to an outside enclosure in intermittent care to begin rebuilding flight muscle and endurance. A regime of antibiotics kept the bird stable as its recovery continued. After roughly two weeks of care the bird was evaluated and cleared for release. On November 19, 2011 the Center released Barn Owl #5604 back into the wild at Hobcaw Barony, a 16,000 acre preserve in Georgetown County dedicated to research and education.

10 x 10

Acrylic on Wood Panel

Original and Prints Available

"Lesser Yellow-Headed Vulture"

Lesser Yellow Headed Vulture, vulture, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, laura palermo, bird, portrait

10 x 10

Acrylic on Wood Panel

Original and Prints Available

Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures occur from eastern Mexico south through Central America, and sporadically in South America east of the Andes and south to Uruguay.

It probably locates food largely by smell, as do the other species in the genus, which is rare among other avian species that typically have no sense of smell.

The numbers of Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures in southern Tamaulipas (Tampico wetlands) have been declining since the 1960s. This species may serve as an important indicator species whose presence reflects the overall fitness of tropical wetland ecosystems.

Factors resulting in the decline of wetland areas can have a negative effect on the population and distribution of Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures. Such factors include draining of wetland areas for agriculture and development and also climate change altering rainfall patterns.

While many vulture species in the New World have healthy populations, vultures worldwide are in significant decline. In Asia, vulture populations of three species of vultures declined by nearly 99% between 1992 and 2000. Scientists found the anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac, being used in veterinary medicine with cows, was ingested by vultures scavenging on cow remains, causing kidney failure and ultimately death. Without vultures, feral dog populations grew out of control.

Today, millions of Indians are bitten by dogs creating more cases of rabies per capita than any other nation in the world. Despite this crisis, diclofenac has been approved for use in Italy and Spain since 2013. Another recent study on the veterinary use of a different drug, Fenbendazole, indicates potential toxicity to the remaining vultures in India.

The Avian Conservation Center led a cooperative research study in 2007 that determined diclofenac did not have the same negative effects on New World vultures, proactively addressing a major environmental issue. Vultures remain a vital part of ecosystems around the world filling an important niche in the environment. Their growing absence in other parts of the world creates significant human health issues that will impact generations to come.

"Buzzard"

Buzzard, Hawk,  birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, laura palermo, bird, portrait

The Common Buzzard is a medium sized bird of prey in the genus Buteo, which includes the broad-winged soaring hawks.

In the U.K., the Common Buzzard suffered a significant reduction in available prey in the 1950’s when a myxomatosis epidemic killed off 99% of the rabbit population. Some additional significant threats include trapping, pesticides, and habitat loss. Common Buzzards are also highly vulnerable to the impacts of potential wind energy developments. In addition, lead poisoning caused by ingestion of lead ammunition imposes a threat to these birds.

Despite all of the adversities these birds are facing the Common Buzzard population still remains in a stable condition.

10 x 10

Acrylic on Wood Panel

Original and Prints Available

"Asian Brown Wood Owl"

Asian Brown Wood Owl, owl, painting, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, bird

Asian Brown Wood Owls are found throughout the jungles of Southeast Asia in Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Indonesia. They tend to occur in older forests as they need large, dead trees for nest sites; making their population sensitive to expansion of logging. For this reason, the Asian Brown Wood Owl is often used as an indicator species for managing old forests.  Deforestation and human disturbance are thought to be the main reason for decline of this species.

Asian Brown Wood Owls are rarely seen in captivity in the United States, making the individuals housed at the Avian Conservation Center a unique conservation and education resource. The Center has successfully utilized a captive breeding program to increase the Asian Brown Wood Owl species.

10 x 10

Acrylic on Wood Panel

Original and Prints Available

"Bald Eagle"

Bald Eagle, painting, bird, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, america, soaring, vulnerable, paintings by palermo, laura palermo

10 x 10

Acrylic on Wood Panel

Original and Prints Available

In 1979 there were only 36 documented sightings of bald eagles in the state of South Carolina. The national symbol of the United States was on the brink of extinction. Long before the harmful effects of DDT ravaged eagle populations across the country, hunting was threatening the species’ livelihood. Bounties were issued for the lawful killing of bald eagles in the United States up until the mid-1950s.  A lack of understanding and scientific study led to widespread misplaced fear of eagles. The misunderstanding continues today as the Avian Conservation Center still treats gunshot wounds in local bald eagles.

There are an increasing number of threats facing the remaining populations. A recent study analyzing the blood lead levels of eagles in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida found that eagles in South Carolina had significantly higher blood lead levels than in other states. Lead poisoning is lethal to birds such as Bald Eagles.  Eagles and other birds of prey are ingesting animals that have been hunted with lead bullets.

In 2017, a federal ban on hunting with lead bullets was lifted. Many hunters use lead ammunition because it is heavier than steel or copper, meaning the bullet reaches the target more accurately. Lead ammo is also cheaper than steel or copper. The increased use of the lead bullets has led to an alarming rate of deaths among the Bald Eagle population.

Forest Owlet, wildlife, conservation, art, owl, painting, endangered, inda, cute, paintings by palermo, laura palermo, birds of prey

"Forest Owlet"

Forest Owlet, wildlife, conservation, art, owl, painting, endangered, inda, cute, paintings by palermo, laura palermo, birds of prey

"Pair of Forest Owlets"

12 x 16

Acrylic on Canvas

Original Sold, Prints Available

16 x 12

Acrylic on Canvas

Original and Prints Available

"Pair of Burrowing Owls"

Burrowng Owls, owls, birds of prey, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, bird

30 x 40

Acrylic on Canvas

Original Sold - Prints Available

Burrowing Owls are still numerous, but populations declined by about 33% between 1966 and 2015, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimate a global breeding population of 2 million. The species is listed as Endangered in Canada and as a species with Special Protection in Mexico. Agriculture and development have significantly diminished the colonies of prairie dogs and other burrowing animals where Burrowing Owls once nested by the hundreds. Pesticides, collisions with vehicles, shooting, entanglement in loose fences and similar manmade hazards, and hunting by introduced predators (including domestic cats and dogs) are also major sources of mortality. At the same time, Burrowing Owls have benefited from protective legislation, reintroduction and habitat protection programs, and artificial nest burrows. Because they do not require large uninterrupted stretches of habitat, these owls can benefit from the protection of relatively small patches of suitable land.

"Piping Plovers"

Piping Plover, shorebird, declining, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, Piper
Piping Plover, shorebird, declining, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, Piper
Piping Plover, shorebird, declining, wildlife, conservation, art, paintings by palermo, Laura Palermo, Piper

Acrylic on Canvas

(3) 8" x 8" triptych

Original Available

"Bristle Thighed Curlew" Series II

Bristle Thighed Curlew, endangered, bird, art, painting, charleston, declining, shorebird, conservation, Laura Palermo, paintings by palermo, nature, wildlife, pretty, curlew

Bristle-thighed curlew are monogamous birds, forming long-term bonds, and are not only faithful to a partner, but also to breeding sites, returning to the same place year after year.  Therefore, the expanding development of gold mines and mining roads on the Seward Peninsula in Alaska is an increasing threat that could have a significant impact on the curlew, due to its reliance on the small area for breeding. 

However, the small population of bristle-thighed curlew is declining primarily due to the impacts of introduced predators on their wintering grounds. The flightless period during the moult evolved during a time when there were no mammalian predators on the South Pacific islands where they spend the winter. Today, with the establishment of humans on these islands, and the subsequent introduction of mammals, moulting leaves the curlew in an extremely vulnerable position. Introduced cats, dogs and possibly pigs, prey heavily on the flightless curlews, causing a significant decline in numbers.  The Bristle-thighed curlew are currently classified as a Vulnerable species.

Acrylic on Canvas, 20" x 60" Original Sold, Prints Available

"Spotted Owls"

The Spotted Owl is a near threatened species residing in the mature forests on the Western coast of North America. The Spotted Owl has been federally protected since 1990 and is still declining. Primary threats to Spotted Owl populations are loss of old-growth forest through clearcutting and degradation of habitat through forest management, urban and suburban expansion, water and agricultural development, and mining. 

Acrylic on Canvas, 24" x 20"

Original Sold

Prints Available

Spotted Owl, endangered, bird, art, painting, charleston, declining, conservation, Laura Palermo, paintings by palermo, nature, wildlife, pretty, owl, abstract

"Blue-Footed Boobies"  

Series

Blue Footed Boobies, booby dance, Galapagos, laura palermo, paintings by palermo, wildlife, conservations, art, activism, endangered, Charleston, SC, South Carolilna, beach, California, Florida, sandpiper, SC Aquarium, preservation, blue, water, shorebird

Blue-Footed Boobies are native to the Galapagos but also live on the western coast of the United States. Their population is declining due to the decline in sardines, their main food source. Without a belly full of sardines, the males' feet lose their bright blue color, and become less attractive to the female boobies.  They are less likely to be accepting of the males' traditional mating dance, causing fewer baby boobies every year.

 

Acrylic on Canvas

40" x 30"

Original and Prints Available

Victoria Crowned Pigeon, endangered, bird, art, painting, charleston, declining, conservation, Laura Palermo, paintings by palermo, nature, wildlife, pretty, pigeon

"Victoria Crowned Pigeon"

The Victoria Crowned Pigeon is the largest species of pigeon in the world.  It is part of a genus of three unique, very large, ground-dwelling pigeons native to the New Guinea region. The bird may be easily recognized by the unique white tips on its crests and by its deep 'whooping' sounds made while calling.

The Victoria crowned pigeon is now the most rarely occurring of the three crowned pigeon species in the wild, although it is the most widely kept species in captivity. Today, hunting and habitat destruction has already extinguished the Victoria Crowned Pigeon from many of its traditional territories in New Guinea.  There are only an estimated 1,500 - 7,000 individual Victoria Crowned Pigeons remaining in the wild. Perhaps the most pressing threat to the species is continuing habitat loss due to logging. These pigeons are also hunted for their plumage and meat- they can be quite tame and easily shot, though now seems to be fearful of humans in the wild. 

Trapping of pigeons to be kept alive for captive collections is now illegal, but is still likely to be occurring. The Victoria crowned pigeon is evaluated as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.  The species is protected by law in Papua New Guinea, although enforcement currently appears to be inadequate, as the population continues to fall.

Acrylic on Canvas, 30" x 40", Original Available

"Eastern Bluebirds"

Eastern Bluebird, endangered, bird, art, painting, charleston, declining, songbird, conservation, Laura Palermo, paintings by palermo, nature, wildlife, pretty, bluebirds

The Eastern Bluebirds are cavity nesters, meaning they make nests of grass and twigs in trees or man-made boxes.  The species has made a remarkable comeback, thanks to volunteers who offered the bluebirds nest boxes as alternatives to their tree cavities.  Starting in the 1950’s, much of their natural habitat was being eliminated for agriculture.  The nest boxes give the bluebirds a safe place to nest, raise their chicks, and help keep them safe from their many natural predators such as cats, raccoons, and snakes.

 

Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 40"

Original Sold

Laura Palermo, birds, endangered, hudsonian godwit, shorebird, sandpiper, charleston, Paintings by Palermo, painting, art, impressionism, blue, nature, conservation, animals, declining, endangered

"Hudsonian Godwits"


The Hudsonian Godwit is a type of shorebird in the sandpiper family. Once a very rare species, the Hudsonian Godwits had declined to around 2,000 due to overshooting. They were once hunted for food and were soon regarded as one of America's rarest birds. With great efforts to protect their species their numbers have increased considerably. However they are still considered a highly vulnerable species because their population is concentrated at just a few sites.

Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 40"

Original Sold

Prints Available

Laura Palermo, birds, endangered, red knot, shorebird, sandpiper, charleston, Paintings by Palermo, painting, art, impressionism, texture, nature, conservation, animals, declining, endangered

"Red Knots I"

 

 

Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 40"

Original Sold

Prints Available

 

Red Knots are a type of sandpiper local to the southern and northern most shores of North America and are renowned for their extraordinarily long distance migrations. Over-harvesting of horseshoe crab eggs, their essential food source, has caused their population to plummet from 100,000 to less than 15,000 in the past 30 years.  This sudden drop in population has left the Red Knots to be listed as an endangered species in some states and as a declining species nation-wide.

Horseshoe crabs are being harvested for two reasons.  The obvious reason is that the fishermen are catching them to use as bait.  However the main reason they are being harvested is for their blood.  Horseshoe crab blood is bright blue and has copper-based molecules that prevent bacteria from spreading.  The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that intravenous drugs and any medical equipment coming in contact with the body must first pass through the crab's blood, from needles to surgical implants including pacemakers. As a result, thousands more of us survive medical procedures.

Over 600,000 crabs are captured each year during the spring mating season, to "donate" around 30% of their blood in a handful of specialist facilities in the United States and Asia. The blood is worth $60,000 a gallon in a global industry valued at $50 million a year.

Red Knots, impressionism, laura palermo, paintings by palermo, wildlife, conservations, art, activism, endangered, Charleston, SC, South Carolilna, beach, Naples, FL, Florida, sandpiper, SC Aquarium, preservation, blue, water, shorebird

"Red Knots III"

 

 

Acrylic on Canvas, 16" x 40"

Original Sold

Prints Available

 

"Wood Storks"

     Human controlled water management activities are upsetting the natural hydrologic cycle of the Florida Everglades.
     "The Everglades of the 1930s, largely undrained and without complex water-control structures, supported a nesting of population of 5,000 to 15,000 pairs of Wood Storks. Modern water-control programs in south Florida have so greatly changed the flooding and drying patterns of the Everglades that the survival of Wood Stork nesting colonies is in question.

     Accelerated development of water-control structures and unnatural water-delivery schedules in the 1960s has sharply reduced the number of birds since that time. By 1995, fewer than 500 pairs of Wood Storks were nesting in the Everglades National Park and Big Cypress National Preserve area of south Florida."

 

Acrylic on Canvas

36" x 24"

Sold

Wood Stork, Everglades, swamp, laura palermo, paintings by palermo, wildlife, conservations, art, activism, endangered, Charleston, SC, South Carolilna, beach, Naples, FL, Florida, SC Aquarium, preservation, blue, water, shorebird

Small Bird Paintings

8" x 8" Acrylic on Cradled Birch Wood Panel

Originals Sold - Prints Available

"American Kestrel"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Mallee Emu-wren"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Masked Lovebirds"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Burrowing Owl"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"New Zealand Dotterel"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"African Penguins"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Keel-billed Toucan"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Colorful Puffleg"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
"Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher"
8" x 8"
Acrylic on Wood Panel
Original Sold
Prints Available
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"Red Knots"