Birding Christmas Cards

Every year for the past several years, as the holiday season approached, I would think to myself that I should put together a collection of Birding Christmas Cards. Of course, I’d get busy, then it’d get too close to the holidays for anyone to want to send out cards, so I’d think that I’d just wait until early “next year” to do it. But who thinks about the holidays after they’re over? And who thinks about Christmas cards in the heat of July? Not me! And so they wouldn’t get done. Sigh.

But then I got a special request from one of my customers for a Christmas card with my Gila Woodpecker on a Saguaro image on it. So I finally had to get my act together and create borders and a layout for holiday season greeting cards.

At first, I thought I could just find some seasonal clip art and use it to make a festive border around the images on my birding note cards. Since my first cards would depict birds in the desert, I wanted borders that would be distinct for the American Southwest desert. But the longer I looked for green or red desert Xmas clip art, the more I realized there wasn’t much out there. Besides, the clip art I did find was either too cartoonish, or didn’t match what I had in mind. I didn’t want some hokey saguaro cactus with Christmas lights, or cartoon roadrunners. Which made me realize I was going to have to go through my own images to find something that I could make Christmasy for the borders of my birding Xmas cards.

Fortunately, I have an extensive library of images to pick from, and so I was able to find what I wanted. I found mesquite leaves in my Vermilion Flycatcher in Mesquite image, which happens to be a first-place winner in the Arizona Game and Fish 2009 Calendar Contest. And I found branches of red berries in my Hermit Thrush with a Berry, another award winner and a favorite of my customers. After some cutting and pasting and hours of trying and retrying different layouts, I came up with two Christmas card border designs – one with berry-laden branches of pyracantha in the corners and mesquite leaves along the sides, and one with larger mesquite leaves in the corners and simple red lines. I think you’ll like them. I’ll be working on more border designs and will (hopefully) get them done before the next holiday season…

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