Don Balke (North Carolina, B. 1933) "Broad-billed Hummingbird Taking Nectar" Signed lower right. Original Watercolor painting on Illustration Board.
Provenance: Collection of James A. Helzer (1946-2008), Founder of Unicover Corporation.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood First Day Cover for the U.S. 29c Broad-billed Hummingbird stamp issued June 15, 1992.
Deep inside Arizona's Santa Rita Mountains, a tiny bird zips back and forth in a swinging motion that emulates the pendulum of a clock. The display is enchanting, but it is the sound of the little bird's wings that captures the attention, a sound befitting the Wild West location, not unlike the wild screaming of a ricochetting bullet. A male Broad-billed Hummingbird is at it again, attempting to entice a female as his mate. Found along sycamore-lined canyons in west Texas and southeastern Arizona, the Broad-billed Hummingbird is best known for the noisy aerial display and a bright red bill which is present on both male and female. The male is an iridescent gem, with emerald plumage on its belly and back, and a throat patch which is as deep azure as the Southwestern twilight. The brilliant sunlight of the desert brings these colors out in vivid display; in the shade, the male Broad-billed Hummingbird appears almost black. The female, while less colorful, is nonetheless a beauty too, with subtle hues of green, gray and white. Unfortunately, catching a glimpse of these minute jewels is a rarity, for the Broad-billed Hummingbird visits the deserts during the scorching-hot summers when most humans are absent. By the time winter has arrived -- along with the usual flock of vacationers -- these little birds have migrated into Mexico.
Image Size: 19.5 x 17.5 in.
Overall Size: 21 x 19.25 in.
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