Falcons of the World (A collection)

Notable birds of the Falco genus from around the world. From left to right, top to bottom:

Red-Headed Falcon (Falco chicquera). Found in open grasslands of India and Africa. 

Brown Falcon (Falco berigora). Found in a variety of habitats across Australia. 

Eleonora’s Falcon (Falco eleonorae) (Dark morph). A nomadic falcon that moves between the Mediterranean and Madagascar. 

Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus). Found along Arctic and subarctic cliffs and coastlines and offshore islands. 

Orange-Breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus). Found in tropical and subtropical forests of Central and South America. 

All species maintain a diet composed primarily of birds and occasionally small mammals. Some of the species found in more tropical regions will also feed on insects and reptiles. 

Hawks of the Buteo genus (mostly)

Well it took me two and a half months but it was a fun project and I really learned a lot. The first lesson was how much changes in taxonomy over ten years. I started his panel calling it “Hawks of the Buteo genus” and I was using a reference guide from 2001. Well not all of these are grouped in the Buteo genus anymore but that didn’t spoil my fun any. 

So here’s our panel starting at the top left:

Ridgway’s Hawk (Buteo ridgwayi), Gurney’s Hawk (Buteo poecilochrous), Zone-Tailed Hawk (Buteo albonotatus), White-Tailed Hawk (Geranoaetus albicaudatus), White-Rumped Hawk (Parabuteo leucorrhous), Red-Backed Hawk (Buteo polyosoma).

Galapagos Hawk (Buteo galapagoensis), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Roadside Hawk (Buteo magnirostris), Red-Shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), Hawaiian Hawk (Buteo solitarius), Broad-Winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus).

Gray-Lined Hawk (Buteo nitidus), Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), Rufous-Tailed Hawk (Buteo ventralis), Short-Tailed Hawk (Buteo brachyurus), White-Throated Hawk (Buteo albigula), Juan Fernández Hawk (Buteo exsul).

Rough-Legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), Mountain Buzzard (Buteo oreophilus), Madagascar Buzzard (Buteo brachypterus), Red-Necked Buzzard (Buteo auguralis), Archer’s Buzzard (Buteo archeri), Augur Buzzard (Buteo augur).

This was a very fun and challenging project, from figuring out how to fit 24 hawks on one panel to laying them out in an orderly fashion. The first three rows are all found in North and South America. Row four finds a mix of Eurasian and African. 

If anything this panel demonstrates the extensive biodiversity of North and South America and also my stubbornness in cramming as many hawks onto one page as possible. 

Thank you so much for looking at birds with me.

My reference guide was: 

James, and David. Raptors of the World. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001.

Raptors of the World: Red-tailed Hawks

We’ve looked at this bird more than any other here. This species has been the epicenter of my fascination with raptors for years. My goal with this panel was to illustrate the variety of plumages found in this species across North America. I’ve read this described as races or subspecies. I’m not sure what the right word is but it really is noteworthy how different the Western Red-tailed Hawk (bottom center) is in colors from a light-morph Krider’s Red-tailed Hawk (top right). 

Red-tailed Hawks prefer to hunt in open regions such as prairie, urban, agricultural, savanna, and partially forested areas. They feed primarily on small mammals, reptiles, birds, and swarming insects. 

Here’s a look at the painting process for fun. Thanks for looking at birds with me. 

Falcons of the World: Peregrine Falcon (again).

Falco peregrinus. 

We’ve looked at this falcon several times here. From its astounding 200+ mph dives to its serrated knife of a bill that it utilizes to sever the spines of its prey. This bird is in a league of its own. 

After the last panel painting I still had these speedy murder birds fresh in mind so I put together another panel.  Thanks for looking at birds with me again. 

Eagles of the World: Crowned Eagle

Stephanoaetus coronatus.

A large and powerful eagle found in forested regions of Central and Southeastern Africa. Feeds primarily on mammals including monkeys, forest antelope, hyraxes, mongooses, and bushbabies. Large lizards and snakes are also on the menu, as is the occasional bird.

crowned process1

Thanks so much for looking at birds with me.

Raptors of the World: Ornate Hawk-Eagle

Spizaetus ornatus

Here’s an aptly named raptor found in the tropical forests of Central and South America. Feeds primarily on mammals, birds, large lizards, and snakes. They often hunt still from a perch then dive down after prey that’s passing by. They are also very strong flyers that can chase down prey that’s escaping.

ornate process2

Falcons of the World: Peregrine Falcon (Again indeed)

Falco peregrinus.

I first learned about these fine birds from a book when I was in second grade. Every time my class visited the library I went straight to the wildlife section and dove in. Fast forward some 20 some years and I’m still fascinated by these fine falcons.

I’m grateful to have had many different experiences with them in the wild. From California to Illinois in a number of different habitats. There’s really nothing quite like watching them fly, hunt, dive, and dine.

Falco t-shirt process edit

I’ve made a few different Peregrine panels over the last five years. This pose is among my favorites and so I duplicated it. I’m proud to be working on panels my father made for me in his wood shop.

Thanks Dad, and thanks to you for looking at birds with me.

Hawks of the World: Cooper’s Hawk

Accipiter cooperii.

Cooper’s hawks are definitely high in the ranks of my favorite birds to watch, draw, and paint. Always a difficult bird to id from it’s cousin the Sharp shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus). I’ve shared other paintings here of this fighter jet-like song bird hunter. This is the first painting I’ve shared of one I’ve put together on a panel my amazing wood-working father had assembled. When I started these panel paintings years back, I was living in Oakland, Ca. I bought my panels from an art supply store. I imagined how cool it’d be to be able to live close to home and paint on panels my dad made. Or at least commandeer his wood shop to make my own panels.  Fast forward some five years and here we are. My dad turns out 10 panels a week for me. I’m sitting on an amazing back-stock of high quality panels and all I have to do is decide which bird to paint.

So I went to the Cooper’s Hawk. One of the first I saw upon my return to my home town four years ago and one I’ve seen plenty of since. In fact one I enjoy so much upon finishing this last one, I started fresh again with another. A feat only easily accomplished by having the wonderfully supportive friends and family I have, and a fine stock of papa-made wood panels.

So I thank you for looking at hawks with me, and my father for providing me with the supplies I need to keep my heart soaring through the branches after birds like the Cooper’s Hawk does.

 

 

Owls of the World: Barn Owl (again)

Tyto alba. 

One of the most wide spread species of owl on the planet. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. These owls occupy open and lightly forested regions as well as agriculture and urban areas. 

Barn owls feed primarily on small mammals such as mice, rats, and voles. Most of which are hunted from a perch. Bats occasionally make the menu as well, taken in flight. A barn owl family with nestlings can consume as many as 10,000 rodents per year. This makes them a friend to corn and grain farmers everywhere. 

barn owl process

Eagles of the World: Wedge-tailed Eagle

Aquila audax. 

Australia’s largest bird of prey. Found in a variety of habitats across Australia and southern New Guinea. 

Feeds on a variety of prey animals. Large lizards, birds, rabbits, wallabies, young kangaroos, bandicoots, goats, sheep, and carrion make up just some of the menu. 

wedge tailed process

I made another Wedge-tailed panel two years ago when I first moved to Chicago from Oakland. It was the second panel I made in my new home. They’re a tricky bird to paint, their faces aren’t fully feathered and that’s a fun challenge.