Sooty Falcon, Falco concolor.
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.
I still remember the first time I encountered a barn owl. It was a sleepless night in Southern California. I walked outside the house barefoot and walked towards the closest streetlight. I’m not sure why. I found the moon and then walked into the grass. I got close to the large palm tree in the neighbors yard and from within its branches came the most abrasive screech.
And it took off. With not even a whisper.
I couldn’t think of anything to say which was convenient because barn owls don’t speak much English.
Some eight years later that sound brings me so much delight to hear. It only rings in to me in the dead of night. My on going soundtrack to living. Through the window in Oakland or a quiet neighborhood in Berkeley. It’s like a letter in the mailbox from that friend you have that’s always traveling. Or like hearing a song that you listened to once with someone special who later drifted away for one reason or another. So many roads since then.
They still show up though when we break out the paint.
This Barn Owl is a melanistic variation. It has excessive pigments in the feathers making it darker. This occurs in many species in the animal kingdom, not just in birds. The first Barn Owl I saw was not a Black Barn Owl, but rather a white one as is usually the case. Black Barn Owls dont survive well in the wild as they don’t blend in. No camo, no cover.
Thank you for joining me in looking at the wealth of amazing birds around us.
Learn, Love, Respect, and Protect.
Every day is Earth day, and every day is a good day to draw a bird.
The top of my list of places I’d like to go and see. They have all the badass snakes, spiders, jellyfish.
I chose the Southern Boobook owl to paint for my owls of the world collection.
I don’t own the rights to any photos of one, but crack open another tab on your browser and check these birds out. They’re very cool birds.
I used a couple books to guide me on this one.
“Owls” by Marianne Taylor. 2012 Cornell.
“Owls of the World” by Dr. James R. Duncan. 2003 Firefly Books.
You don’t see a lot of Boobook Owls here in Oakland. In fact most owls here are plastic and intended to strike fear in the hearts of the pigeons. It doesn’t do much, nothing fazes them. Though the Peregrine Falcon that lives on the hospital building wrecks shop on them.
This was a very fun painting to make, it closed up my book project. Which is now available here: http://www.blurb.com/b/7086777-owls
But back to the point. Boobooks are native to mainland Australia, New Guinea, Timor, and the Sunda Islands. They hunt from a perch for small mammals like mice. Also taking insects like beetles and moths. Coloration varies widely across their range. (That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.)
Thanks for looking at owls with me.
I’ve been having lots of fun with some little linocut projects. Owls and Hawks mostly plus a few dinosaur sort of creatures. Its a bunch of fun, I really like the carving of the linoleum. It’s a slow but rewarding process. And so far I’ve kept the blade out of places it shouldn’t go, all 10 fingers still attached.
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.