The Short-Eared Owl, Asio flammeus.
Preferring to live in open prairie and fields, this owl can be easier to find than some of the more reclusive owls like Strix nebulosa.
These owls do most their hunting at dawn and dusk. Locating small mammals by ear while in flight. They kill prey with a bite to the back of the head.
This small and mighty falcon is about the same size as the American kestrel. It’s endemic to Madagascar and the atoll of Aldabra.
It prefers open country to forest, and has benefitted from deforestation, nesting under the eaves of homes in populated areas.
They usually still hunt from a perch. While they will take mice and small birds, insects comprise 75% of their diet.
Thank you for looking at and learning about these wonderful birds with me.
Now we venture to South America to visit with the Magellan Horned Owl also known as the Lesser Horned Owl. In Chile, it is called Tucúquere, for the rhythm of its song.
This owl resembles a great horned owl but is more lightweight. It was once thought to be a subspecies, but now genetic evidence suggests that it’s a separate species all together.
It hunts from a tall perch for medium sized mammals and birds, preferring rabbits and hares.
This was a very fun painting to make, I found the ear tufts on these owls can be tricky to do right otherwise it looks like a mutant robot cat or something. Anyway, before we go to Australia to look at an owl there, we have to go to the Arctic to look at a falcon. I’ll see you when we get there.
Pharaoh Eagle Owl.
Bubo ascalaphus. This mysterious owl is found across Northwest Africa. They’re found in arid rocky landscapes. From the desert to mountain sides.
This was very interesting bird to read about as well as paint. While I try to use a true to nature approach in my style it was impossible for me to not put a little Egyptian in the eyes.
So now onwards from Africa were heading across the Atlantic to Chile in beautiful South America where we’ll look at the Magellan Horned Owl.
Thanks for joining me.
Last April I painted 20 warbler species of North America. This April I’m working on a collection of Owls of the world.
My goal with painting these animals has always been to bring their significance to light so that they may be saved for future generations to enjoy. That notion doesn’t know borders or continents and neither does my imagination or paint brush.
So I’ve been collecting books and photographs and making new lists to look at for paintings. To present the wonder of the many species of Owls that inhabit our planet.
The first is the Western Siberian Eagle Owl.
The western Siberian eagle owl is a top predator in the Arctic pine forests across Siberia.
It took a lot of pencil pushing before I found my eagle owl in this one. You can see by the photos it didn’t unfold at speed. At one point I pulled out the big eraser and took the poor birds head clear off.
But that is what I expect with trying to catch the nuances of these fascinating creatures. Lots of back and forth. I look at photos in the morning on my way to work of the previous nights sketches and make notes of changes to be made.
I learned even more useful methods for painting on this project. I learned new ways to paint the eyes and the folded wings. Two areas I’ve never felt that I have had a solid technique for.
It was a very productive project in the learning I gained throughout.
I’ve already traveled from Siberia to North Western Africa where I’ve found the Pharaoh Eagle Owl and begun to record.
Putting together the third of a four panel collection. Falcons of North America. Already completed are the Kestrel and Prairie Falcon.
The Great Gray Owl sits on a special shelf of birds in the storage closet of my heart.
Their commanding presence and piercing eyes.
I also enjoy their Latin name Strix nebulosa. It reminds me of the nickname my sister gave me, Nebula.
So today I talked to my sister on the phone, and put a Gray in a nebula of my own.