I finally had one (as suggested in Julia Cameron's Vein of Gold book) with my friend Grace yesterday. Our hubbies and kids went on a long hike together and she and I sketched dead birds.
Sadly, occasionally, birds meet their demise on our huge windows and rather than letting the dog or ants eat them up, I gather them and put them in the freezer. Sometimes an ornithology prof from the local university will take them, but if she doesn't, I use them for art.
Grace and I both chose an ovenbird to draw, and here are my sketches:
The head and claw sketch (at left) was done with a 2B graphite pencil.
The two head shots at right were done with "medium" charcoal pencil.
The head was a bit crooked due to the impact of the crash on our window. As well, it was frozen in a strange position, so the anatomy isn't quite as accurate as I'd like for a more scientific rendering. But, close enough.
I need to sketch more often. I keep telling the kids that, as with anything else, you only get good at it if you keep practicing. I should listen to myself.
"Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives." ~ William James (1842 - 1910)