EDIT 5/3/2010: added detail to the wing edges and bird to help them stand out more, changed face and hair to be a little more proportionally correct, tweaked the facial expression to look less awkward
Lots of experimentation with new brushes as well as making some of my own. Had to backtrack several times on the background partway through to redo several elements.
Back to homework!
Photoshop CS4: ~27 hours