Raptors of the world: Black-Hawk Eagle

Spizaetus tyrannus.

A medium size bird of prey of the Americas. Found in tropical forested regions in Southern Mexico, and south throughout Central America all the way to Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil. They hunt a variety of prey usually from a perch. They take prey as large as toucans, small monkey, and iguanas. Bats, squirrels, snakes, and possum are also on the menu.  Nests are made high in the treetops, and made of branches, vines, and sticks.

This was a fun panel to paint. Making such a dark colored bird stand out on the panel was an enjoyable challenge. Thanks for looking at birds with me.

My source for the biological information:

Clark, W. and Schmitt, N. (n.d.). Raptors of Mexico and Central America. 2017.

black hawk eagle process final

Eagles of the World: Wedge-Tailed Eagle

Aquila audax…
…is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These eagles are great flyers gliding for hours on end. They hunt live prey such as small kangaroos, wallabies, possums, and koalas. As well as nonnative species such as foxes, hares, and feral cats. Searching for carrion is another common behavior. At times searching out for ravens to commandeer their finds. Roadkill is a favorite snack of theirs, and can be found on roadsides clearing carcasses. Their keen eyesight extends to ultraviolet spectrums. While carrion is a large part of their diet, they have shown impressive hunting skills. Even teaming together to drive goats off cliffs and taking large red kangaroos. They also have been found to drive a heard of sheep to isolate weaker animals. Much like a wolf of the sky. Truly one of Australia’s great alpha predators. wdged pair.jpg

Maps to get lost with.

I had a delightful afternoon of painting owls and laughing at my own jokes.

My jokes, like when I put the Nashville and the Tennessee Warblers on the same page, this map was begging for the largest owl of each region…..right?

My punch line, The Great Grey and the Eurasian Eagle Owl.
The Great Grey I had painted before but this was my first Bubo. I have seen one once before at a wildlife presentation in Southern California. It was injured and unable to fly but still sat with more pride and power than any human I have ever met.
Its eyes seemed to stare through me like a laser shot through soft butter.
The Great Grey still is a ghost on my list of birds to see. They can be found in California but certainly not on my chair in Oakland so I’ll probably need to pack a backpack and head to the Yosemite region if I want to get closer than photos in books or my own sketch pads.
Great Grey Owl Strix nebulosa

Great Grey Owl
Strix nebulosa

Eurasian Eagle Owl Bubo bubo

Eurasian Eagle Owl
Bubo bubo


This one I nicknamed “Guillotine bird” on account of the fact it hangs over my bed. One good earthquake…

It’s my favorite acrylic painting of this size that I have made so far. The sun was shinning nicely in the living room this  afternoon so I moved it there for a few images of it. While digging around on the computer I found some older images of it through out the process. I think I’ve put them up here before but I wanted to group them all together.

Penciled together.

Penciled together.

Fluid acrylic.

Fluid acrylic.

The final bird.

The final bird.

Getting by with a little help from my friends.

I’d been keeping all these in a big plastic box because I was too lazy to make mounts for them. I’d usually get as far as calling the piece done, snap a picture and add it to the pile. A good friend stopped by the other day to see some of my works. She suggested the plastic box might not be the best place for these birds. She recommended some good wall mounting options. Thus lighting the fire under me to get them truly finished.

Now that they’re up, I can’t imagine why I didn’t finish the wall mounts for them sooner. It was a great excuse to go to the hardware store.

I am very grateful to have the inspiring and supportive friends and family that I do….and a hardware store down the tracks from my house.

And a Thank You to whomever has squandered a perfectly good minute reading my words and looking at my birds.

I left the window open and a bird flew in

Sitting on my chair again, a blank page at my disposal. It stands in place of the plywood of the previous project. My mind travels elsewhere. It travels out the window of my room.
Pushing aside the screen. Down the vine tangled walkway under my windowsill. It drifts down the street, past all the parked cars. It drifts upward, narrowly missing the roof tops. It picks up a burst of speed and goes up, over California, above the West coast, Drifting out over across the Pacific Ocean. Higher into the stratosphere it climbs. Until above it is the black of space.
There are no eagles flying where my mind is now. No air for one to breathe. Just my mind and maybe some space junk floating by.
For all the air breathing creatures my mind likes to render I wonder how it stays safe up there, what does it pick up out there that it isn’t down here on a chair in an apartment in California? It goes there every time, and passes a lot of airplanes and birds on its way up. I wonder if she crossed paths with it when she caught the red eye out of LAX.
I suppose its possible but, it’d be too dark out and I really don’t think she’d recognize it anyway.

Under a carefully constructed wooden sky.

My eagle drawing on plywood made its way through the next phase of its coming to be. Like a fresh molt, new color. The process left my hands blue, try as I might they’ll hold bits of that color for a while. The Bald Eagle has been long held sacred by many tribes and nations. Seeing one on the fly overhead was all it took for me to see why. I’ve admired them for a long time, but put off attempting to paint one til I found myself reasonably pleased with my process and abilities. And now here in May of 2014, on the golden coast. Still far from mastering my craft, but the weather seems right and my hand true enough to give a go at borrowing the likeness of an entity so great.


Glide between your wing beats.

I bought this new piece of ply-wood for $40 from the hardware store across town.
I cut it into a few pieces. Not at all evenly, really not sure what sort of math I was using.
They went from biggest to smallest. The small part I wasn’t sure what to do with,
so I left it in the bed of my truck. The medium looked good for a hawk. On that
I laid out the Zone-Tailed Hawk shared here previously. The final piece, larger seemed
fit for a great bird, while I considered an Osprey for a minute, I felt it a fine day to go from
Hawks to Eagles. The Bald Eagle seemed a good starting point.
Here it is in pencil gliding between wing beats.