Hawks have been a focus of mine since the beginning of this decade that’s now closing down. Catching a glimpse of a red tailed hawk coasting on the thermals while I rode my bike in the hills of California. That’s where my interest was first peaked. I feel I’ve lived a lifetime since then. Though that same situation still occurs while I’m exploring the shores of Lake Michigan or the very same prairies I did long before my love affair with painting hawks began.
It became important to me to learn how to paint those birds and all the countless others that I’ve crossed paths with. While this decade is coming to a close my journey as an artist is just beginning. I’m proud to share another hawk painting with you.
With this blog as I developed it, I made a point to steer away from the poetic and just share the science and while I still intend to share more species and information with you. Forgive me while I take but a moment to reflect on the miles and years we’ve all come to get to today.
This one is for our friends who can’t be here with us tonight. Thank you so much for looking at birds with me.
I’ve painted plenty of adult Red-tailed Hawks and wanted to do a panel painting of a first year hawk. Even more specifically a light morph. Red-tailed hawks don’t gain their namesake red tail feathers until their second and even sometimes third year.
This was painted on a panel that’s been used for a few different paintings and has been sanded down many times and washed with several different background colors. That’s what gave it the unique coloring you see here.
I’ve probably painted more of these birds than any other. They hold a special place in my heart. Thank you so much for looking at birds with me.
One of the most wide spread species of owl on the planet. They are found on all continents except Antarctica. These owls occupy open and lightly forested regions as well as agriculture and urban areas.
Barn owls feed primarily on small mammals such as mice, rats, and voles. Most of which are hunted from a perch. Bats occasionally make the menu as well, taken in flight. A barn owl family with nestlings can consume as many as 10,000 rodents per year. This makes them a friend to corn and grain farmers everywhere.
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.
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.
Ferguson-Lees, J., Christie, D. and Franklin, K. (2005). Raptors of the world. Princeton: Princeton University.
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)
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.
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.
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).
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.