The Trouble With fireworks

New Comics, Redbubble

Yes, I loved fireworks when I was a kid, and I blew up more than my fair share of Black Cat firecrackers and M60s. But that’s before I understood the environmental impact of what I was doing. I know if I’d had less damaging ways to celebrate I would have had just as much fun (seriously, what child wouldn’t have a great time throwing eggs that smash into a flurry of confetti?) If you want to be extra-considerate of nature, make sure whatever you choose is as eco-friendly and biodegradable as possible; light-up poi and other battery-operated light toys can have years of use, and make sure your confetti eggs don’t include plastic-based glitter or other non-biodegradables. 

I realize that I didn’t cover related topics, such as how fireworks can cause massive fires. Wildfire is a topic I’d like to give its own comic down the line; needless to say, another reason to avoid fireworks is the potential for accidentally setting things alight (such as the Eagle Creek fire in Oregon in 2018.) I do also acknowledge that smaller fireworks fo the sort most people use at home, like firecrackers and smoke bombs, are less of an impact individually than mortars, but they still contribute a lot of pollution on their own, and are likely an even bigger source given how many people buy them each year.

Also, here are a few links on the ecological impact of fireworks, in case you need more talking points when discussing this with others:

Finally, if you thought the toad on panel four was cute, you can get her as a sticker at!

Dandelion Or Not?

New Comics, Redbubble

This time of year the yard is absolutely full to bursting with hairy catsear, plus a few of the other species shown here. I’ve had friends comment on the “dandelions” in the yard, which of course is the perfect invitation for me to tell them more than they ever wanted to know about the dandelion tribe, Cichorieae. While the catsear has pretty much spread everywhere here, it at least gives the adult pollinators something to eat; the black-tailed bumblebees and ctenucha moths especially love it. So while we may try replacing it with something native later on, for now it’s not the most pernicious of invasives. 

Also, my worst nightmare finally happened: the edge tore when I was removing this piece from the sketchbook. You can see it at the top in the title. *sigh* It’s not a huge tear, but it means I’ll have to be extra careful going forward. 

Finally, the flowers themselves are available as a sticker and other merch at my Redbubble shop! It’s a nice, summery design. 

Species portrayed: common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), hairy catsear (Hypochaeris radicata), smooth hawksbeard (Crepis capillaris), prickly sow thistle (Sonchus asper)

I Found a Baby Bird! Now What?

New Comics, Redbubble

It’s that time of year again! Nestlings may tumble out of their nest if they lose their balance, get shoved by their siblings, or the wind blows them out. Fledglings, on the other hand, are making their transition to the wider world around them. These are some basic guidelines for figuring out the best course of action. When in doubt, call your nearest wildlife rehabilitation center.

I’m experimenting with all-caps lettering, in the hopes that it’s at least a little more legible. I’m not used to writing this way, but I hope with practice I can neaten it up. What do you think?

Also, the fledgling blue jay and cedar waxwing in this comic were so much fun to draw that I drew several other adorable fledglings, including a crow, a cardinal, and a pigeon. They’re now available as stickers and other merch at – if there’s a species you’d like me to add to the lineup, let me know!

Finally, as with all my comics you’re welcome to share this; just please include a link to this site. 

Species portrayed: blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), American robin (Turdus migratorius), cedar waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum), American goldfinch (Spinus tristis), domestic cat (Felis catus), coyote (Canis latrans), American crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)

Cute Baby Bird Stickers and More!

Other Art, Redbubble

Over the weekend I drew a blue jay fledgling as part of a WIP comic, and really had fun with it! So I decided to give her a few friends, including a fledgling robin from a previous comic, plus a cardinal, a crow, and the ugly-but-so-darn-cute baby pigeon. All five birds are available as stickers and other merch over at my Redbubble shop. If you have any other species you’d like to see added to the collection, let me know, too. And as always I am open for general art commissions!

They Are Other Nations

New Comics, Redbubble

This is my favorite quote from Henry Beston, from his well-known work The Outermost House. Western society tends to see Homo sapiens as being superior to all other life forms, when in fact we are just one of many beautiful, intricate, and ultimately ephemeral species to spend time on this planet. Beston’s quote captures that sentiment for me, and I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate at least one comic to these words.

I don’t have any particular reason why I chose a Roosevelt elk (Cervus canadensis roosevelti) to go with the quote, other than I just felt like drawing one. I have a tendency to make my long-nosed mammals look too horse- or dog-like, so I wanted to really work on capturing the contours of the elk himself. Maybe someday I’ll be brave enough to try a front-facing view (foreshortening!) but for now, I’m happy with this.

Also, this guy is a sticker (without the text) at my Redbubble store.

Did You Know…How Parrots Talk?

New Comics, Redbubble

Parrots aren’t the only birds that can talk, either! Corvids (especially ravens and crows), European starlings, northern mockingbirds, and lyrebirds are all great mimics, though the hill myna is said to have the best ability. Their mimicry isn’t limited to just human voices or bird songs either. “Talking” birds have been heard imitating everything from vehicles and chainsaws to smoke detectors and microwaves. The possibilities are endless!

Also, this handsome specimen is available as a sticker at my Redbubble shop. Put a bird on it!

Species portrayed: Congo African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus)

The Potoo!!

New Comics, Redbubble

What can I say? I love these Muppet birds! I know we’re just anthropomorphizing their giant nocturnal eyes and wide, insect-catching mouths, but indulge our squees a little, okay? I tried showing two of my favorite behaviors of this bird, the still camouflage mode, and “Hey! Leave me alone!” fluffbird excitement. 

Oh, and hey–you can get a sticker featuring my potoo pair over here at Redbubble!

Species portrayed: Common potoo (Nyctibius griseus)

That’s a Moray – A Parody

New Comics, Redbubble

This was prompted by a Twitter thread a while back which consisted of a bunch of people making up “That’s Amore/That’s a Moray” parody verses for the fun of it. As usually happens when folks play with this pun, it was mostly one-shots of “When [something an eel does and you observe it] that’s a moray!” I decided I wanted to take this further and do a parody of the entire song, as closely as I could. I did still take a few liberties, and it’s not full length due to space constraints, but you should be able to sing this in its entirety to the original melody.

I also wanted to take the opportunity to dispel some myths about moray eels. While yes, they can deliver a nasty bite if you really, really mess with them, for the most part they’re pretty shy and don’t want to be bothered. They’re also small enough that they aren’t going to see you as a potential meal, even if those pharyngeal second jaws are pretty freaky looking at first!

Finally, I have an exciting announcement! I have officially opened a Redbubble store, and this design is the first one available there, mostly as prints and stickers. You can check it out by clicking on this Redbubble link right here.

Species portrayed: Undulated moray (Gymnothorax undulatus), snowflake moray (Echidna nebulosa), redface moray (Monopenchelys acuta), zebra moray (Gymnomuraena zebra), Seychelles moray (Anarchias seychellensis), viper moray (Enchelynassa vinolentus), ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita)