Friday, May 18, 2007

Red-Tailed Hawk

It's likely you've come here from my art blog so you already know I'm an artist. Last weekend I went out to do some plein air painting in a spot a short walk from my house. On the way back, carrying all my painting stuff I saw this (see below):

My wife came out to help me bring everything back because I had two wet paintings and my French easel holds only one. At first we thought we saw a groundhog. Then I realized it was a large bird and most likely a hawk. They don't normally sit on the ground like that. I told my wife to wait and I went over to get a closer look (see below):

The whole time I was taking pictures of it it was watching me like a hawk but made no move to fly away. When I got home I called my bird expert friend Nick. He gave me some places to call to help this clearly sick bird. It was Sunday so all I could do was leave messages. I went back out and took more pictures of the hawk (see below):

When I walked around behind the hawk it swung around and puffed itself up big. Was I about to get my face clawed off?

I walked back home and called another animal expert friend of mine and Nancy told me to see if the bird had something it had caught. When I went back it looked like the hawk had flown away but I saw it in another section of the field. And I took more pictures (close-ups below):

Below is the hawk's nictating membrane working in just one eye.

On my fourth trip out the bird, sick of me taking pictures, finally took flight.

I followed it and took these.

It looks like the raptor has recovered here and has returned to his throne.