Some of the most famous ornithologists got their start by painting birds. We’ve all heard of John James Audubon, an early American artist, but famous in today’s art-to-birding world is David Sibley, who began drawing birds at age seven. From Sibley’s love of painting came his attention to the detailed features of each bird species, which led to the development of his bird field guides (books and apps). Beyond being an enjoyable pastime, painting birds out of an appreciation of their beauty has helped to raised awareness about birds, increase the popularity of birdwatching, and has, ultimately, led to their conservation. So the next time you go out to a place birds frequent, bring a pad of paper or a journal and some art supplies, and see if you can inspire someone to care about birds through your art!