Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Another Sketch of an Imperial Woodpecker

Yesterday I posted a sketch of an Imperial Woodpecker drawn more than 180 years ago by English bird artist and ornithologist John Gould. In fairness to the many excellent artists of today, I thought I should post something more recent. Here's a sketch of the same species drawn by my friend, John Schmitt, a lifelong bird artist who lives in California.

For his model, John used an Imperial Woodpecker specimen at the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology in Camarillo. The bird had been collected more than a century ago in the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico. John's sketch is a lot more lifelike than the withered old bird skin that lay before him as he drew it. And the bird did not have a spread wing. John meticulously measured the amount of white on each feather to recreate the wing accurately. To view a completed Imperial Woodpecker illustration by John Schmitt, see my post on January 16, titled "Imperial Woodpeckers of the Sierra Madre."

(Illustration by John Schmitt)

Below, John Schmitt poses with a mounted Imperial Woodpecker specimen. 

(Photo by Tim Gallagher)


  1. WOW! Look at the size of that bird! Great to be able to see it in context.

  2. It must have taken some pretty big bugs to keep something like this going...