Birds on the Brain

Heather Byrne's new work is now on show at Gallery 48 The Strand.

A new exhibition at Townsville’s Gallery48 The Strand is celebrating the many and varied bird species in our region as observed through the curious eyes of artist Heather Byrne.

Heather said her latest exhibition, Living on the Fringe, features birds that you’ve probably seen around town – some daily and some just now and then.

Heather’s interest in birds has been a life-long passion.

“My mother used to say to my when I was quite little ‘Look at the peewee, look at the blue wagtail’, so she obviously had a casual interest in birds herself,” Heather said.

“I don’t call myself a twitcher but I’ve always bird-spotted and if I’ve seen a bird doing something I’ll do a bit of research on why they do it. I often get people saying ‘I’ve seen this bird with a yellow head and black beak and orange legs, what is it?.’”

That interest in expanding her bird knowledge has led Heather to gather a wealth of interesting facts.

“I try and broaden my scope on how much I know. At the moment I’m watching blue-faced honeyeaters and they’re very quick. If you go up to the Coffee Club [on the Strand] you can watch them steal the little sachets of sugar off the table and go up in the tree and bash them. They’ve got a huge sugar addiction.

“I get crushes on [different birds all the time]. At the moment I’m painting a few native hens, magpie geese, ibis; I paint the birds that are probably less liked, I guess. Maligned!

“What I know is miniscule to what you can know, but I’ll trundle on.”

Living on the Fringe includes all new work by Heather, including a number of beautifully layered watercolours that are so detailed they take on a drawing-like quality.


Living on the Fringe is currently on display at Gallery 48 The Strand. The Gallery is open 2pm – 5pm Wednesdays and Saturdays or by appointment.

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