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. 

Falcons of the World

Falco novaeseelandiae

I’ve been looking forward to revisiting this member of the Falco genus for a while. The New Zealand Falcon (Falco novaeseelandiae). New Zealand’s only species of falcon.  

This medium size bird of prey feeds primarily on birds, small mammals, reptiles, and insects. It most often hunts from a perch or from a high circular flight pattern diving to take prey. Like most falcons, prey is caught with talons and then dispatched with a bite to the neck/spine (unless it’s insects because that’s just like eating popcorn). 

This falcon was originally found exclusively in native forests and dense brush. However with extensive deforestation they have adapted to open grasslands and agricultural areas. 

A big thanks to my dad for this excellent wood panel to work on and thanks to you all for looking at birds with me. 

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.

Red-Tailed Hawks across the spectrum

“Inspiration, move me brightly

light the song with sense and color

Hold away despair

more than this I will not ask

Faced with mysteries dark and vast

statements just seem vain at last”

-Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead. 

There is one specific bird that has long stirred my spirit to move paint across page after page. To call it my muse wouldn’t be completely unfair. Buteo jamaicensis. North America’s Red-tailed Hawk.  

Since my youth Red-tailed Hawks have captured my imagination. One of my earliest memories regarding birds was my father pointing out a perched Red-tailed Hawk in the field by our house. Then later a school visit to a wildlife rehabilitation center where I met my first hawk. And years later while I explored California’s central coast seeing them float on thermals inspired me to take all I’d learned from my sister about painting and use it to try and catch their wonder. 

“The storyteller makes no choice

soon you will not hear his voice

his job is to shed light

and not to master” 

-Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead. 

Red-tailed Hawks are found across almost all of North America. I’ve been across almost all of North America from one time or another and enjoyed these hawks on my travels. I put together this panel to demonstrate the incredible variety of colors they occur in. 

Once again I’m proud to paint on a panel my father made for me. The same man who gave me my introduction to this great world of wildlife puts the pages right under my paintbrush. 

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.

Hawks of the World: Red-tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis.

North America’s most widespread raptor. Found in open regions of Mexico all the way north to Alaska and just about every point between. They prefer grasslands, fields, deserts, roadsides, parks, farmland, and broken forests. They feed primarily on small mammals, birds, reptiles, and swarming insects. They hunt from a perch like utility poles and trees. They also hunt on the wing, soaring in circles, gliding on thermals.  These hawks mate for life, nesting in treetops, cliff sides, and man made structures. They lay a clutch of between 1 and 5 eggs. Incubation time varies from 28-35 days.

rtha flight panel process

rtha panel paired 999

It’s no secret this is my favorite bird to study. In the field or in the studio they never fail to capture my imagination. They embody a sense of exploration and beauty to me. They were a common sight in my 20s when I was exploring California by bicycle and have remained a common sight as I enjoy my home near the prairie remnants of Illinois.

I put together these two paintings over the last couple weeks on panels my father made for me in his workshop. I can’t begin to express what a great gift it is to be able to paint on a panel he made, and to have his generous support all my life.

I’m so glad I get to share these birds and art with you all, thank you 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.