Once I got a handle on capturing screen shots from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology web cams this spring I collected a large number of Red-tailed Hawk and Great Blue Heron photographs to use in either my paintings or collages. As most of my friends and family know, I became mesmerized by the daily routines of both these birds and their growing families. Way too much time was spent glued to the computer as the eggs hatched, the chicks grew and then finally left the nests. I must admit I miss checking in on them and enjoyed revisiting my file of hawk images.
Although I gathered a great variety of different views on the nests, one particular profile view of a maturing Red-tailed Hawk became my favorite. The camera operator at the Lab had zoomed in on the head of this magnificent bird. The hawk posed motionless and a perfectly focused close-up resulted. All I had to do was hit a few computer keys and save the image.
More than a few months have passed since I was lucky enough to catch this moment. After I printed it there was no doubt it needed to be a painting. As with most of my work on birds, this painting may not be an exact, scientific illustration of a Red-tailed Hawk. Hopefully I did manage to bring the essence of this bird to light. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, this hawk is probably the most common of North America. They can be found soaring above open fields, atop telephone poles, fence posts or even high up on a light pole on an athletic field at Cornell University. Maybe I’ll even see one in our neighborhood. I can’t wait until next spring to see the return of Big Red and Ezra with their next nest of chicks.