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.


Marianne said...

These photos are priceless! What a wonderful job you've made of them. Can I pinch a few for my photo library? :-D

I hope the poor bird is feeling better.

What camera do you use, and does it include a telephoto lens?


Ron Morrison said...

These secondary blogs are proving to be fun for the artists and the visitors- I think it sorta rounds out the artists persona (for the visitor) and gives us (the artists) a chance to become more than one dimensional, we become almost like regular people with different aspects to our lives/personalities.

tlc illustration said...

Brave photos! (Glad you *didn't* get your face clawed off!) :-)

How lucky are you to have so much nature so close to you...

Ben Foster said...

Those are some great pictures. I don't think I've come close to seeing a hawk at this range.

To echo Marianne, what are you shooting with?

Ben Foster said...

Oh, I almost forgot to mention... The cover I'm working on right now involves Griffons, and the various angles of head shots you've captured on this beautiful raptor have helped inform my drawings IMMENSELY. Perfect timing!

Mary Sheehan Winn said...

What a great story. You must give us the ending. What happened?
To say these photos are stunning doesn't express their impact.
Call these you National Geographic shots.
I am just like you with the camera and have zillions of shots all over the place and am always asking my husband to stop the car or turn around so I can take "a" shot. He'll fire up his pipe and wait...and wait....and finally start tooting the horn to bring me back!

Sandy said...

Wonderful photos...I love birds so viewing these and seeing the gorgeous details are so exciting.


Tom Kidd said...

The first picture was taken with my Canon Elph but the rest were taken with a Sony DSC-R1. The camera's discontinued now. It came with a 5X Zeiss zoom lens and I certainly used it here. The Sony has 10.3 megapixel CMOS and shoots RAW type pictures but I shot these only as jpegs. I use the RAW format only for shooting art otherwise I'd fill up my hard drive fast. If you import these into Photoshop all the specs should be there. I cropped in on the pictures some.

You're welcome to use these pictures as reference. I will at some point for something if only from the memory of the day.

Cara Dawn Romero said...

This is great - love the photos -

Anonymous said...

Where's the dead deer it was supposed to be feasting on? :-)

But seriously...great photos. Glad your eyes are still in your head.


PaulSketch said...

ooo I love this new blog! I definetley go into this state too, awesome to have a whole blog for your photos :D

I can't believe you got so close to this owl! great shots!

Merisi said...

I can't see the photos, but I read the story, and I am in awe that you came so close to the hawk. Ever since a hawk tried to take off with my mother's dachshund, I am a little scared of encounters of the close kind (my 6 ft tall strong brother had to fight for quite a while to get the little dog back - he was suspended from the hawk's claws with the bird in the air, my brother hanging on to the dog on the leash, like flying a kite -, it took the vet two hours to stitch the dog back together again).

Scott Altmann said...

Amazing photos! Seeing such a marvelous creature in person is so inspiring. Thanks for sharing these - I love this stuff!

Fossfor said...

thank you for posting these beautiful photos

william wray said...

A once in a lifetime adventure. Lucky you. Any up dates on him?

Bill said...

The same thing happened to me this summer when i was painting in my back yard, check out the picture of the red tail here