nature

Owls on magic floating branches…

So here we are again looking at owls.

I had worked most of this painting out to be in “scientifically accurate” colors (see also shades of brown) but halfway through I changed my mind. 

Some nights when I know it’s going to be hard to find sleep I think about bird painting.

Exclusively. 

“What if I made the owl in shades of blue/gray?” 

“Shit, I hope I remember this when I wake up”

Well I did. (mostly).

bluegray process1

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Raptors of the World: Crowned Hawk-Eagle

Stephanoaetus coronatus

Crowned Hawk-Eagles are said to be Africa’s strongest bird of prey. Found in densely forested areas of central and southern regions of Africa. These large eagles feed primarily on mammals, also birds and reptiles. Hyrax, monkeys, and even domesticated cats are taken. 

crowned hawk eagle 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. 

Hawks of the World: Red-Tailed Hawk

Buteo jamaicensis

Found in a variety of color morphs across much of North America. Occupying a variety of habitats, open savanna, grasslands, coniferous forest, deserts with cacti, farmlands, and urban areas. Feeds primarily on small mammals like mice, voles, squirrels, and chipmunks. Occasionally preys on reptiles, birds, and swarming insects. 

Absolutely one of my favorite birds to paint, photograph, and watch. Here’s a collection of a few of my recent paintings of North America’s lion of the sky as well as a few photographs from the field. 

february rtha processfebruary rtha

april rtha processapril rtha

may rtha processmay rtha

Owls of the World: Great Gray

Strix nebulosa.

The largest species of wood owl, and the largest species of owl found in North America. Feeds primarily on mice and voles that it hunts in its forested habitat of the upper northern hemisphere.

This is my second panel dedicated to this species of Owl. Painting directly onto a block print that I made on a panel my father made.

 

Hawks of the World: Rufous-Tailed Hawk

Buteo ventralis.

Also known as the Patagonia Red-Tailed Hawk. A medium size bird of prey found in forested areas of southern Chile and Argentina. Feeds on small mammals and birds. Very little has been published as far as population, prey animals, and breeding.

Rufous process1

 

Ferguson-Lees, J., Christie, D. and Franklin, K. (2005). Raptors of the world. Princeton: Princeton University.

 

Eagles of the World: Martial Eagle

Polemaetus bellicosus.

Africa’s largest species of eagle. Found in open areas with grass and thorn bushes and wooded savanna. In Central and Southern Africa.

Hunts from a perch near a waterhole or clearing. Feeds on mammals, birds, and reptiles. Prey varies wildly by region and availability. From rabbits, hyraxes, and even monkeys, jackals, and small wild cats. Birds of different sizes and monitor lizards make up a substantial amount of the menu.

(Ferguson-Lees, Christie and Franklin, 2005)

martial eagle progression

I have been keeping busy with the panels but not posting them here because they were all birds we’ve looked at a lot here. So here’s a new one we haven’t seen here yet. Acrylic paint on wood panel. Thanks a bunch for looking at birds with me.

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

Buteo Hawks of North America

 

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Here’s five of the more common Buteo hawks found in Canada, Mexico, and The United States. All feed primarily on small mammals such as: Rabbits, voles, mice, squirrels, and prairie dogs. Insects, birds, and reptiles are also on their menu. All are frequently found in open areas. Grasslands, desert, and sparsely forested areas. Many have adapted to human habitation impacts and can be found hunting from a perch upon a utility pole along an urban roadside.

For more information about these birds definitely check out www.allaboutbirds.org

It’s one of my favorite online resources for raptors and other birds of North America.

I’d like to credit Floyd Scholz’s book “Birds of Prey” (Stackpole Books 1993.) as an indispensable resource in raptor illustration.

These illustrations are done in Micron pen and watercolor.

Thanks so much for looking at birds with me.

Hawks of the World: Cooper’s Hawk

Accipiter cooperii.

We’ve looked at this one here before. I featured the male Cooper’s hawk on this very panel in the spring of 2015. I’ve learned a lot about painting and this species since then. I felt it was time to sand that painting off and start anew. This time featuring the female Cooper’s hawk. I’ve included a few pen and watercolor illustrations to help further illustrate the differences between the male and female plumage as well as one to help differentiate from the Sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus).

coopers hawk male and female

Females Cooper’s hawks are larger than males and can take larger prey. Males tend to only take small birds, while the females can take birds as well as small mammals like squirrels and rabbits. Nests are made in treetops and laying 3-5 eggs per clutch. eggs are a cobalt blue color.

Cooper’s hawks can be found throughout North America. Preferring woodland habitat where they chase down prey through the treetops. They’re also found in urban environments. Preying on birds and squirrels that frequent bird feeders.

It can be easy to confuse Cooper’s hawks with Sharp-shinned hawks (Accipiter striatus). Especially given the size differences between male and female Cooper’s hawks. A male Cooper’s hawk can be the size of a female Sharp-shinned hawk. The tail feathers of the two are the best indicator of who’s who. Here’s an illustration I put together to explain the differences.

coops compaired to sharpie

Thanks for looking at birds with me.

collage 3