Visionary Vultures 2: Owls & Old World Bird Pin Collection

Created by Foxfeather Zenkova

A stunning collection of pins celebrating the Old World vulture family and supporting awareness of endangered vulture conservation. Items in this shop are in stock, most orders will ship within 3-5 days. Tracking information will be sent by email. Purchasing items from this store directly supports our work in wildlife rehabilitation and vulture conservation - you can learn more at the Foxloft Conservancy Wesbite You can see more of Foxfeather's artwork at: Foxloft Studios Website UK orders will be charged VAT as per the 2021 changes requiring the seller to submit VAT fees (receipts showing pre-payment will be sent with your order).

Latest Updates from Our Project:

March Update - Pins nearing completion!
over 1 year ago – Tue, Mar 29, 2022 at 03:57:27 AM

Cinereous Vulture Pin


    March brings exciting news; the pin manufacturers said that all the pins should be done around the end of this month! Once they are finished, they will begin their journey to me, which will take an estimated 4-8 weeks. A lot happens during shipping (including pins sitting in warehouses while awaiting customs clearance here in the US), so I will keep you updated once I have more of an idea when exactly they will be arriving. Once they arrive to me I will be sorting and grading them, then packing them and working through shipping all the orders to get pins out to you! I am very excited to see the pins in person, all the photos I've been sharing are sent to me as they are being made - I don't get the physical samples myself. I will take lots more photos once I have the pins in hand. :)

White-Headed Vulture Pin, front and back
Female Kestrel Pin in process - before buffing/polishing and metal plating

Pin Production Process 

Here is a neat example of a pin in progress, and a bit of insight into the making process itself.  To make enamel pins, our initial physical art is turned into a digital file, which is then cut into steel to form a mold. These molds are then used to stamp metal into shape, or larger, more complex molds are made and a centrifugal (spinning) force pushes molten metal into the mold to create the 'plates' - the metal frame of the pin, minus the enamel color. 

Coloring is done using carefully matched and mixed pantones in enamel, which are filled by hand or machine injection. Because of the complexity of our pins, almost all the work is done by hand. I am told that the machines are better for simpler designs with larger areas of solid color, which is why making the pins takes so long. Filling and polishing the pins by hand makes each pin slightly different, its own unique piece of art!

When enamel is filled by hand for hard enamel pins, little bits bleed over, as in the sample above. The pins are baked at very high temperature and polished and cleaned to make a flat, smooth surface, which removes the small imperfections from overfill areas. The post backs (pin part) are soldered on, then the pins are then plated with their final metal finish, making then shining gold, silver, black nickel, or any other chosen color. With a final buffing by hand pins are checked, counted, and packed. A lot of work, time, and care goes into making each pin.

I hope that gives you a better idea why making thousands of these pins takes so long! Even after the art is finished, the entire process of choosing colors, producing and tweaking physical samples, and then finishing all the pins is a laborious process. Rest assured, lots of work is going on in the background while you wait for your pins to arrive. 

I will make another post in April when I've got a better idea when pins might be arriving. Thank you again for your patience in waiting with me, I know this new set will be well worth the time they take to finish!

 Wayward Owlet

In wildlife rehab-related news, the busy season is looming and our first baby of the year is this adorable great horned owlet. It was rescued after being blown from its nest during a high windstorm (many thanks to my friend and volunteer Carolyn for taking her day to be an owl ambulance). Great horned owls are one of our earliest nesting birds here in Minnesota, but plenty of raptors already have eggs and more species are soon on their way. 

In many cases, people accidentally bird-nap babies that they think need help but actually don't; this is very common when young birds are learning to fly so they're on the ground but not flying well yet; that is a natural part of the process. If you see a fluffy white baby (without adult bird feathers) alone on the ground like this owlet, however, they often need help. Contact your local rehabilitator or center for advice.

If you don't know who your nearest wildlife rehabbers are, now is a great time to look them up and add their numbers to your phone or notes! It's much easier to find them now than in the middle of coming upon a wildlife emergency. is a good place to start, or you can look on your state DNR webpage (or call them) for a list of state-permitted wildlife rehabilitators. I know it can be difficult or frustrating to find coverage in all areas (wildlife rehab is work that requires licensing and specialized skill, but is done on a largely volunteer basis) so you may have to hunt around a bit; most rehabilitation centers are located in or near major city centers in each state.

After an exam, clean bill of health, a few good meals and supportive care, this owlet is currently on its way to be re-nested with foster parents in the wild. Unfortunately, the location of its nest is in an inaccessible area, so it couldn't be reunited with its parents. Fortunately, owls and many other raptors will usually accept a similar age chick being added to their nest if they aren't already overloaded. A huge thanks to the UMN Raptor Center who keeps track of potential foster nests and does a lot of this labor-intensive renesting effort each year (often requiring specialized tree climbers or boom trucks capable of going 40-80 feet up in difficult conditions). Wild owls can always do a better job raising their kids and preparing them for a life in the wild than we humans ever can, so I'm very happy this chick can get back to where it should be. 

You can see a video of this cute little owlet being fed here:   

Thank you again, so much, for being a sponsor of my work - art and otherwise! You directly make my efforts helping wildlife possible.

February Pin Update - Visionary Vultures Progress!
over 1 year ago – Fri, Feb 18, 2022 at 09:56:51 PM

Greetings from the Foxloft!

A quick reminder - There are still 61 people that need to complete their surveys -If you haven't answered yours yet to fill out your shipping address and to select your pin or item choices, please do that soon. Some people started but didn't finish the process, if you're waiting because of a potential address change you will get a reminder a few weeks before shipping begins so you can change your address. Don't wait to get your selections in if you haven't already, it's possible I will run out of your first pin choices if you haven't let me know what you want yet.

You can log into your backerkit account or get your survey re-sent at any time here:

Red screech owl pin!

      As I mentioned last update, our manufacturers were closed for the first few weeks of February to celebrate the Lunar New Year with their family, friends, and take some much needed time off! They're just starting to get back to production, expecting to be at full capacity towards the end of the month.  So it's been a quiet month, on the pin front, as expected.

     The good news is that things are still on track, and all metalwork has been approved and only a few pins still remain needing re-sampling to get the colors perfect before final production. 

Our largest piece, the flying Eagle owl pendant!

Over this next month most of the pins should be finished and start working their way to me through the long shipping process. I am continuing to gather and organize shipping supplies in preparation; my studio is filled with thousands of boxes, reams of tissue paper and recycled packing material, jewelry findings, sticker packs, prints, and more. I am so excited to start receiving pins to sort and send, but this is the 'hurry up and wait' phase.

In other news:

Winter is generally a quieter time for rehabilitation work (since there are no baby birds coming in here in Minnesota) so it's the time when I can catch up on 'book-work' and strive to improve my skill set to better help wildlife coming into my care.   

      I am proud to announce that I passed my test for the International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council's Certification program, so I am now a Certified Wildlife Rehabilitator™ (CWR™)! I also passed my state exam to upgrade my rehabilitation license class, and I've been taking some amazing classes, including Raptor Care and Medical Management through the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center. I have two upcoming in-person conferences with more hands-on training that I am really looking forward to (everything has been largely digital the last few years which is awesome for accessibility but not the same, especially for lab type work). 

    Most of our building progress has been stalled with weeks of bone-chilling cold and winds, including way too many sub-zero days. As our buildings are unheated (installing the new HVAC systems is one of the big next steps) we're waiting until it's a little more amenable to working outside to get going with that again.

    That's it for now, I am hard at work reviewing and proofing all the pins as they near finishing, and production is clinking along. I will touch base again in March with another status update and continue with monthly updates until we are ready for final shipment to get pins into your hands! Feel free to reach out any time with questions, or follow my Twitter for more day-to-day progress of the project (as well as everything else going on with my work). 

Thank you again for your patience in waiting through the 'making' process so that these pins can come to life, and joining along for the ride!


January Update - More pin samples!
over 1 year ago – Sat, Jan 15, 2022 at 04:54:30 PM

Egyptian vulture pin!


     It has been a busy month all-around for me since the last update, and I have been working closely with the manufacturers daily. I go over each pin individually as the physical samples are created, checking over all the details and colors. At the end of this process, each pin is turning out amazingly! Right now I'm working on the last two pins for color edits, everything else is mid-production now.

Gull pin!

Here are a few of the final samples, I will have more to share with you next month as we wait together through the making and shipping process. Some exciting news: the first group of pins will be starting their overseas journey at the end of this month! The cargo shipping process is quite delayed right now, so I don't expect them to arrive until 2-3 months after they leave port, but it's one step closer! 

The burrowing owl mini-pins turned out absolutely perfect (I might have let out an audible squeak of happiness when I saw them!)

This coming month will be a bit of a quiet time on the pin front, since Feb. 1st marks Lunar New Year and all the manufacturers will be taking a much needed break for this national holiday. Workers have 1-3 weeks off, so most of February pins will wait so people can enjoy time with their families in celebration. End of February, work will resume and the second batch of pins will be sent by air cargo, so they should arrive to me around the same time as the pins sent by boat beforehand.

I look forward to sharing more progress with you, and will continue to check in once a month until the big flurry of pin arrival and shipping to you begins later this spring. 

In non-pin-related news, one of my last wildlife rehab patients for 2021 was this adorable sky puppy (big brown bat) which found its way to me after tumbling out of someone's chimney into their home. Though I usually only take in birds, since I'm the only rehabilitator in my area I take mammals and reptiles as needed until they can be transferred to other specialty rehabilitators.

Bats have incredibly fast metabolisms, and when woken from hibernation they can lose over half of their saved fat stores within a day of being active.  This little one was quickly eating its way through my mealworm colony before I was able to get it up to the big state rehab center a few days later. They care for over 200 bats each winter until they can be released again in the spring. 

If you would like to watch a video of this bat happily eating mealworms (along with adorable, tiny munching noises) check out my twitter at :

Though it is still busy day-to-day, this is the 'quiet' season for wildlife rehabilitation since there are no baby animals around here right now. I am taking the slight downtime to work hard on finishing the new buildings, and to get the wildlife hospital ready to work come the springtime rush. I'm also using the time to take more classes and catch up on a lot of paperwork and other admin tasks that get pushed aside when my patient caseloads are high. 

Thank you again for coming along on this journey, and supporting my work - you make not only the art and pins themselves possible, but all the work I do with wildlife rehabilitation and education, too! I can't say it enough; Thank You!!


December Update: Stickers arrived and begin shipping, first pin samples are here!
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 01:23:24 PM

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BackerKit Checkout surveys are coming! Plus some fun pin manufacture updates - Visionary Vultures
almost 2 years ago – Thu, Nov 18, 2021 at 08:49:03 AM

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