Painted: May 29, 2016
Climate Threat: The smallest bird in North America, measuring about 3 inches long and weighing about one-tenth of an ounce, the Calliope Hummingbird is able to survive cold summer nights at high elevations in the northern Rockies. Some migrate every year from Canada all the way to southern Mexico. Audubon’s climate model forecasts an expansion of areas with suitable climate, mainly north and east—but only 22 percent of the current summer range remains stable by 2080.
About the Artist: Born and raised in Wisconsin, by way of Atlanta, Kristy McCarthy is a self-taught painter, hair braider, community organizer, and the founder of the Harlem Art Collective. Based in New York City, she has spent the past four years organizing public art projects and painting murals in her neighborhood of East Harlem, as well as in Ecuador, Peru, Panama, Guatemala, and Mexico. Her work often questions human’s relationships with each other and with nature, dealing with the concepts of love, exploitation, and interconnectedness.
The Artist on the Mural: “Hummingbirds have always fascinated me. They're the smallest birds on the planet, yet some of the most fearless, they can hover and fly backwards, and have the very important job of pollinating. They symbolize resilience, adaptability, joy, and playfulness, and their wings, rather than flap up and down, move in the pattern of the infinity symbol. With the audubon report focusing on population decrease due to the loss of nesting habitat, I chose to do a mural depicting the mating rituals of these adaptable little long-distance migrating love birds: the Calliope Hummingbird. This mural is the love story of two that became one and then there were three.”