Tad Fyock

Bird Carving beachfront6164@earthlink.net

What makes a man who worked as a petroleum geologist for 30 years become a lover and sculptor of birds?  It might be a life that has always kept him close to nature.  Tad Fyock, who has lived in Bethune Beach since retiring in 1994, was born in Portland, Oregon and grew up in the Willamette Valley.

As a geologist he worked on projects in Alaska, Tunisia, the North Sea and other regions. “I never lost my love and desire to be around our feathered friends.”

Fyock has been interested in birds since the age of 4 and remembers an uncle telling him if he could put salt on a bird’s tail he could capture it.  He spent the entire summer near Portland chasing every bird with a saltshaker.

An only child, he said he spent much of his young life going after anything that flew.  “I knew the black ones were crows and I learned about quail, ducks and robins.  Everything else was a sparrow.”

One time he rescued six little mallard ducks, in a nest after their mother was killed, and “they followed me everywhere for a summer, one of my greatest bird exploits.”

His love for and interest in birds intensified as he got older.  Their diversity and the many difference in their colors especially fascinated him.  A bird that is considered to have one color actually has many different shades of those colors.  One day he was visiting a gallery and saw wooden carvings of a hummingbird and red tail hawk.  Even though he knew nothing about bird sculpting,  “I decided that’s what I was going to do.”  He made his first wooden bird sculpture in 1982.

By studying photographs of birds in some of the 300-400 photograph books he owns on the subject, he began learning about their anatomy and feather covering, and how best to carve.

Once he has done a simple profile Fyock uses tupelo wood and a grinder with drill bits to cut into the wood and slowly the bird he has chosen to carve materializes.