Ornithologi

A studio for bird study

Tag: painting

Illustrating the Harpy Eagle

by Bryce W. Robinson

Untitled-3-01.jpgOver the past few years I’ve had the opportunity to illustrate the Harpy Eagle (Harpia harpyja), with the cover art for the Raptor Research Foundation‘s Journal of Raptor Research, and private commission work. Recently, I’ve focused again on the Harpy for a large and exciting project I’ve started with The Peregrine Fund (Stay tuned for details), and I’ll soon be returning to the species for Costa Rica focused work that I’ve also undertaken. I hope you enjoy the products of these upcoming endeavors as much as I’ll enjoy creating them.

Prints highlighting some of these Harpy Eagle images can be found in the shop.

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Help Fund Golden-crowned Sparrow Research

by Bryce W. Robinson

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I had the pleasure of painting one of my favorite sparrows, the Golden-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia atricapilla) for someones birthday. Even more, the person to receive this painting studies Golden-crowned Sparrow migration, so it is quite appropriate. Autumn Iverson is working towards a Ph.D. at UC Davis, focused on movement ecology of these sparrows. She plans to outfit sparrows with GPS tags to track seasonal movements and better understand their yearly cycle.

Today, 21 September, is Autumns birthday. Happy Birthday Autumn!

Autumn needs your help to fund her research. She is currently running a fundraising campaign to raise money for the GPS units she will use on the sparrows. Please, consider helping out this research with as little or large of a donation as you see fit. You can find a detailed explanation of her plans, her research, and how to donate at her experiment.com funding page. 

An Illustration of Some Members of the Genus Buteo

by Bryce W. Robinson

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18×24″ Gouache on watercolor paper. From top left: Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni), Broad-winged Hawk (Buteo platypterus), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus), and Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis). Purchase limited edition prints here.

I’ve been illustrating raptors in flight for some years now, which really took off when I met Jerry Liguori. Jerry took me under his wing, so to speak, and filled my head with everything he himself has learned over his many years studying the identification of raptors, particularly in flight. His tutelage accelerated my skills and knowledge in raptor identification, and I can confidently say that without his selfless teaching, my illustrations wouldn’t be the same.

I’m currently focused on tuning in my raptors in flight. I am about to start some large illustration projects focused on these taxa, so I am working to develop my technique and process as well perfecting relative shape and sizes. It’s a challenge, because illustrating each correctly involves so much more than the obvious differences in plumage. What makes each unique are shape, proportion, and posture. I’ve found posture to be the most challenging aspect to capture, since this seemingly simple factor has so much power over whether the bird looks real or not. Furthermore, in flight postures and shapes are influenced by the direction and motion of a bird in that moment in time. For instance, a bird soaring has a unique shape but because of the position of the viewer, that shape may be different for each wing because of the birds posture and how wind or resistance bends the outer primaries. To understand and master this effect is going to take repeated sketching and exploration.

Purchase an 18×24″ limited edition archival print (30 available) of this illustration in the shop. Your support helps me continue to refine my illustration, so thank you ahead of time! Also, be sure to add Jerry Liguori’s unique guidebooks to your library. Jerry has taken raptor identification to the next level, and his guidebooks are a wealth of information for mastering in-flight identification. You can find his books here: Jerry Liguori’s Hawk’s From Every Angle and Hawks at a Distance

Illustration of the Vultures of Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

by Bryce W. Robinson

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Vultures of Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, including the White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus), White-headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occidentalis), Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos), Hooded Vulture (Nechrosyrtes monachus), and Palm-nut Vulture (Gypohierax angolensis).  16×20″ gouache on watercolor board. Image copyright Bryce W. Robinson.

My friend Teague Scott, a master’s student at Boise State University, researches the movement ecology of old world vultures, namely the White-headed Vulture and White-backed Vulture. Teague conducts his work in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, a place with a tortured history as it was devastated by civil war to the point that little large animals remained.

In 2004, Greg Carr, an Idaho based philanthropist, took it upon himself to revitalize the park. What he undertook was a massive collaborative effort aimed at rewilding Gorongosa, involving the local people thus instilling a land ethic and raising their quality of life through employment. Among many academic institutions, he also involved Boise State University and the Intermountain Bird Observatory to provide the opportunity for graduate students to conduct research in the park.

What this effort has become is a resounding success. To find out more about Gorongosa, visit the parks website. Here you will find information on the history of the park, the projects that the park supports, as well as information on opportunities to visit. Be sure to also take the opportunity to watch the numerous videos that provide a glimpse at the natural wonders of Africa.

If you have a love for vultures, and you would like a print of this image then you can purchase one in the shop.