Karen loves animals. She started painting budgerigars which is her dreaming. But now she also paints different animals that can be found around Yuendumu and Australia such as kangaroos, emus, crocodiles..and sometimes she has been commissioned to paint domestic animals such as chickens, dogs, cats, pigs, goats etc
Sometime Karen depicts one of many ‘jurlpu’ (bird) species that live around Yuendumu. The bush around Yuendumu provides many different habitats for birds to live in. Many bird species live around waterholes and rivers, like the ‘pirniny-pirninypa’ (black fronted dotterel). Others live in the spinifex country, like the ‘nuwiyingki’ or ‘panngarra’ (cockatiel). Others make nests in trees, like the ‘juwayikirdi’ (grey crowned babbler).
People hunt some of these species for meat. The most popular species to hunt today are the ‘yankirri’ (emu ) and ‘wardilyka’ (bush turkey). People also used to hunt ‘yupurru’ (spinifex pigeon) and ‘ngapilkiri’ (crested pigeon), among others.
A number of bird species tell people messages. Several species tell people when rain is coming, including the ‘jintirr-jintirrpa’ (willy wagtail) and ‘kalwa’ (crane). The cries of other birds, like the ‘kirrkalanji’ (brown falcon ) and ‘ngamirliri’ (bush stone curlew ), can make children sick. The ‘paku-paku’ (crested bellbird) and ‘kurlukuku’ (diamond dove ) are messengers of love songs.
People also use messages from birds to help them hunt. The ‘juwayikirdi’ (grey crowned babbler) and ‘piirn-piirnpa’ (yellow throated miner ) cry when goannas are nearby. People know to run quickly when these birds cry, so that they can catch the goannas.
In Warlpiri culture, ‘jurlpu’ (birds) are associated with a number of different ‘Jukurrpa’ (Dreaming) stories. Some are even associated with major ceremonies, including the Jardiwarnpa fire ceremony