Rob Arnberger started carving in 1977 when he served a tour of duty in the Ozark Country of Northern Arkansas as a National Park Ranger. "I fell in love with caricature carving trying to capture a story in a wood figure, using only knives and gauges to free a humorous face and figure out of a block of wood. … Read More
The Pyrrhuloxia is a first cousin of the Northern Cardinal and is a frequently seen bird in southern Arizona. The name of the bird comes from two words: pyrrhos (flame-colored) and loxos, which refers to the reddish highlight in the feathers, mostly in the long red crest, breast, and tail feathers. The bird also differs from the Cardinal because of its curved parrot-like bill. Males are greyer-colored and females are browner-colored, frequently mistaken for female Cardinals. I wanted to carve a simple presentation of this colorful desert bird focusing on the brightness of the red contrasting with the dullness of the grey.
This little guy was carved in the “smoothie style” much as decoy carvers do their art focusing on “painting for realism.” Found throughout the west it sometimes hunts during the day sometimes attacking birds larger than itself. To me, all owls have an “attitude” and I hope I captured a little bit of this guy’s viewpoint!
This was a project carved with famed bird carver Glenn McMurdo. This bird is seen along the ocean shore and inland in meadows, lawns and golf courses with long reddish legs hunting for worms and other critters. When on the nest and disturbed it will race away on long legs dragging a wing, acting if injured, to lure a possible predator away from its nest. The long legs of this particular little bird are folded under as it sits at rest….or maybe on a nest?
This is a common and very active bird found in oak and pinyon-juniper habitat of the west coast and into the eastern rim county of Arizona. It seems they are never at rest and fly together in small, loud flocks of birds working an area constantly looking for food. They are truly the “kings of the scrub”! I wanted to capture that alertness and motion, giving the viewer a sense that the bird is about ready to fly but also placing it in a low-to-the-ground habitat where something edible might be found.