Monday, September 26, 2016

Birds of the Oakland Hills

Western Bluebird
6"x6" watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache & beeswax
Three more Birds with Attitude: Western Bluebird, American Kestrel and a Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk.

Smaller than a robin, the brilliantly colored Western Bluebird is a Navajo symbol of sunrise and renewal. Ornithologists have yet to determine bluebird seasonal migration routes. Bluebirds reappear at Sibley Volcanic Preserve in the spring.

The American Kestrel uses strong winds and updrafts at Sibley to his advantage, hovering above an open field on rapidly beating wings. When prey--a lizard, rodent or small bird--is spotted, the Kestrel rapidly tucks wings and streaks downward, head first. Most prey are caught on the ground although insects and birds are sometimes taken in flight.

It is not uncommon for Red-tailed Hawks to exhibit leucism, which results in a loss of feather pigmentation. I've seen plenty of Red-tailed Hawks at Sibley but have yet to see a leucistic one. . . here's hoping.

American Kestrel
6"x6" watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache & beeswax

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk
6"x6" watercolor, watercolor pencil, gouache & beeswax

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