I enjoy carving birds partly because I like to see the subject emerge from the wood, but also because I like the peacefulness of a sliver of wood coming off the block with an almost effortless push of a good sharp knife or gouge. 

I try to imagine what the bird is doing and thinking in the pose I have selected.  A good idea about the birdís attitude helps me to put a little extra effort into the piece.  If I can see the attitude in the finished piece then I feel I was in control of the process.  I think this is a pretty good measure of success.  

When I first began carving, I carved only decoy-like ducks.  Now I carve mostly songbirds because there is such variety.  I think I may soon go back and carve a few ducks, but this time Iíll do full-bodied birds.  I recently did a full-bodied Shoveler with feet as if it were swimming.  I like the look of it.  Maybe next time Iíll do a common Mallard.  People are more familiar with the Mallard.  I wonder if folks think my Shoveler is a Mallard with a super-sized bill.