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Flightless falcon takes on new hobby as an artist in Vermont — and you can buy his work

Turns out he was a natural.

Turns out he was a natural.

Photo Credit: iStock

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a Vermont fundraising auction is about to find out how much a painting is worth when it’s done by a bird. 

As reported by The Washington Post, a bird with an injured wing is running art classes at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, and some of his paintings will soon be up for auction online. 

Named Ferrisburgh for the town he was rescued in, the bird in question — an American Kestrel, the smallest member of the falcon family — wasn’t always destined to be an artist. 

Ferrisburgh was brought to the institute’s bird rescue about four years ago after he landed on the shoulder of an unsuspecting man out for a walk. He was likely looking to be fed, according to Anna Morris, director of on-site and outreach programs at the institute.

Morris and her co-workers assumed that the bird had likely been raised illegally in captivity due to its comfort with humans and looking to them for food. The bird clearly didn’t know how to survive in the wild — which comes with its own hazards like glass buildings and predators — but he was great with people. 

Turns out he was a natural.
Photo Credit: Anna Morris

This disposition led to workers at the institute using him as a flight ambassador, a position in which Ferrisburgh’s keepers would bring him out and let him fly back and forth, providing visitors with a close-up look. 

The American Kestrel population has declined by about 50% over the last 50 years, so institute staff further used Ferrisburgh to teach visitors how to help kestrels in the wild by avoiding pesticides and building kestrel nesting boxes to boost population numbers, the Post reported

However, when Ferrisburgh fractured one of his wings and could no longer fly, the staff had to pivot. Having recently watched a crow — another bird known to be incredibly smart — paint, Lexie Smith, an AmeriCorps environmental educator at the institute, had the idea to try it with Ferrisburgh as a form of stimulation and exercise.

Turns out he was a natural, so staff came up with the idea of having him lead a “Coloring With Kestrels” class. “He took to it right away — he was a natural,” Smith said of Ferrisburgh’s class demonstration.

While he will continue to paint, the staff has a feeling Ferrisbugh may also have a knack for poetry.

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