The Gift For Bird Lovers Blog

Random thoughts & stories from the people who bring you UnrealBirds Stuffed Animals.

Plush Piping Plover Stuffed Animal Sculptures

Posted on April 7th, 2014

Image of a Plush Piping Plover Stuffed Animal

Introducing the adorbz Plush Piping Plover with chick!

We are just finishing up our first Plush Piping Plover stuffed animals and are having a blast with them. It’s tough not to walk by them in the studio and say “awwwwww”. It’s tough to resist sticking the little plover chick in your pocket and taking it home with you. Piping Plover chicks are probably the cutest things on the earth and we did our best to pay tribute to these adorable little creatures.

Mama, or papa if you prefer, is seated in a nesting position. The fluffy little chick stands tall on two little legs. The chick’s legs are just a little bulkier than they are in real life, but we wanted to make sure they would stand tall and proud next to their parent.

Be sure to sign up on our mailing list to get notified when our Plush Piping Plover stuffed animals are available! Another great gift for bird lovers.

We’ll be adding more plush Piping Plover stuffed animal images to our Bird Stuffed Animal Photo Gallery real soon!

 

 


Nesting Season Is Probably The Ultimate Gift For Bird Lovers

Posted on April 6th, 2014

Image of Red Tailed Hawk

What a gift! A Red Tailed Hawk nests on a cliff in a Gorge near Ithaca, New York.

Spring is a true gift for Bird Lovers. The sights, the sounds, and the action in the backyard is always a thrill and full of the promise of better days ahead. But the biggest treat of all is the opportunity to watch the incredible nesting action of birds, especially the large raptors. It is quite a gift to discover a massive hawk or Eagle nest and even better to have a chance to witness the serious business of birds making more birds.

Image of Bald Eagles nesting

Another Gift for Bird Lovers! Bald Eagles nest on Cayuga Lake in upstate New York.

On an otherwise average spring Saturday I had the incredibly good fortune of visiting not one, not two, but three large raptor nests: A Red Tailed Hawk nest, a Bald Eagle Nest, and an Osprey Nest. Spring is awesome!

The Eagles were just gettin’ busy, the eggs should not be far behind, and they are furiously preparing. The Red Tailed Hawks are already on their eggs and deeply involved in the serious business of keeping them safe & warm. The Osprey have just arrived from a long winter in South America and pairs are still fighting and trying to claim the nest for their own. But at each nest, there was action, there was drama, there was wonder.

Here’s hoping you get the chance to get out this spring and experience the ultimate gift for bird lover’s: the nesting season. I hope I don’t need to remind you to keep a safe distance and do everything you can to avoid disturbing a nesting bird. If the bird knows you are there, you are too close!

Osprey, comin' in hot!

Osprey, comin’ in hot!

 


A Gift For Bird Lovers: Plush Osprey & Real Osprey Invade The Chesapeake

Posted on March 31st, 2014

Osprey on the Chesapeake Bay

How many Osprey can you find in the photo above? The Chesapeake Bay is loaded with Osprey right now as the Osprey are migrating North after a long winter in South America. There are Osprey in the fields, in the air, in the water, and on almost every solid piece of wood sticking out of the Bay right now. Late March is an excellent time to watch for Osprey along the coast of the mid Atlantic.

Some of these Osprey will stay on the Chesapeake to nest while many others are just passing through on their way to point farther North.

A Plush Osprey Stuffed Animal

Of course our Plush Osprey were excited to join the party along the Chesapeake with their real life counterparts! While the weather was dreadful over the weekend in St. Michael along the Chesapeake Bay, an early morning fog added a little drama to the big Osprey showing.

A Toy Stuffed Osprey

 


Overdoing It: Designing the Perfect Plush Piping Plover

Posted on March 13th, 2014

A quick look at our bird stuffed animals or our web site should make it very, very clear that we are way, way, way overdoing it with the birds.  Most plush makers find their pride in making things that are dirt-cheap to make and dirt-cheaper to sell. The cheaper the better. But as artsy types and nature lovers, we are more enthused about obsessing over tiny details and creating the world’s most awesome plush birds!

Sketching the Stuffies

We’ve made hundreds of uninspiring, unsatisfying prototypes. Most of them were nice efforts, but they somehow just missed the mark of truly honoring the birds we love so much. From these experiences we are always seeking ways to do more exploration in the design process. What better way than drawing pictures of birds!

Sketching our bird stuffed animals

Besides being wicked fun, there are just so many things you can learn about what something really looks like by attempting to duplicate it with a pen and some scrap paper. Best of all, drawing pictures of birds gives some of  us the perfect excuse to sit around the computer and look at pictures of adorable birds all day long. Unreal! It is a blast to look at photos of real birds and debate about what details might look adorable in a stuffed animal version, or what features might look best when rendered in plush. It’s even more fun to just simply appreciate the fine details of nature by attempting to duplicate them on paper. Nature: the world’s greatest artist.

But we can’t go directly from pencil to plush. There are other (even more awesome) steps involved.

Sculpt Before You Stuff: Sculpting The Perfect Stuffed Animal

After a little drawing and coloring, it is time to break out the clay. You’re probably thinking “it’s like kindergarten over there!”. You are 100% correct. It is bird art kindergarten here at Unreal!Birds, and we have the best toys in the world for recess: our cameras and our bird stuffed animals.

Sculpting birds out of clay allows us the same types of learning and experimentation (and fun!) that we we get from sketching, but with an added dimension: the 3rd dimension.

Sculpting birds before creating the Stuffed Animals

Making clay models is more than just child-like fun: It gives us a chance to hold ideas in our hands. That is reward enough right there. But even better, it allows us to share ideas with others and let them hold our ideas in their hands too. It is amazing what you can learn about an idea when you bring it to life.

Scientist Approved! The Science(tists) Behind Our Stuffed Bird Creations

In life, it is one thing to love the things  you’ve created. It is another entirely to create things that other people love too! Second opinions are invaluable so we always seek them out.

We both love and hate to bug real life wildlife biologists about our plush bird recreations. We hate to take them away from their important work, which we support, but we love to get their insights and ideas! Fortunately, the good folks at the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ are smart, patient, and generous with their vast expertise. It’s a brain trust of bird detail over there!

We are especially grateful for the eyeballs of Todd Pover, the Beach Nesting Bird Master, and his team from the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ. He helps us fix the tiny details in our designs that really bring out the species in our stuffed animals… maybe the head is a little too small in relation to the body, maybe the tails is a little too short, maybe the neck is too flat. These things matter, and the folks who spend their lives in the field helping these animals are quick to spot the flaws and the tiny things that make a Piping Plover stuffed animal look like a duck, or a plush Osprey like a chicken.

Overdoing It With The “Behind the Plush Birds”?

Guilty! But we thought you might like to catch a glimpse of the fun stuff we get to do in our studio, and learn a little about what drives our vision. For those of you looking for the ultimate gift for bird lovers or the world’s finest bird stuffed animal, look no further!

Plush Plover Parts: A lot of details go into exploring what makes a great plush bird!

 


Celebrate the 2013/2014 Irruption With A Snowy Owl Stuffed Animal

Posted on February 18th, 2014

While we don’t know what future years will bring, this year has made the record books in terms of the sheer volume of owl invading the U.S. Bird lovers everywhere swarmed hot spots along the coast to catch a glimpse.

Sadly, our friends will be leaving soon, heading back to the Arctic hopefully to breed successfully and make more owls for us to enjoy in the future. What better way to commemorate the season than with a Snowy Owl Stuffed Animal from Unreal!Birds!

Remember, proceeds from every purchase go to support the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey to help protect habitat that is important to the Snowy Owls. Help us encourage generations of irruptions!

Double Snowies on the beach in New Jersey. A fitting symbol of the massive 2013/2014 Irruption