I like drawing birds from photos because I get distracted easily outside and using a photo gives me the opportunity to look closely at what I'm drawing, particularly when it's a subject like a bird that would normally move out in the world. None of drawing birds comes easily, but figuring out angles and proportions comes more easily than knowing what to do with wings, feathers, and feet. I had to force myself to revisit the feet after sketching them in half-heartedly at the end. When drawing out in the field I'd most likely not be able to see the feet well enough to draw them accurately so a photo reference would be required if I wanted a complete drawing. Beaks and eyes are challenging but fun to work on and when you get them right it almost makes up for anything else in the drawing that's not quite right.
I want to build a daily drawing practice to improve my drawing skills and I love birds and spend a lot of time outside, so nature journaling seems like a good way to combine these. Since I'm fascinated with bird behavior, I find the narrative aspect of writing about what I observe compelling and it seems like a good way to go beyond just focusing on the thing I'm drawing to include aspects of the whole experience of what I'm observing.