Ornithologi

A studio for bird study

Tag: peregrine

Gyrfalcon Project Update

by Bryce W. Robinson

Female Gyrfalcon - Falco rusticolus

Here in western Alaska the bulk of the breeding Gyrfalcons are fledging young at the moment. We were able to install all ten cameras in nests this summer, and starting tomorrow will begin taking them out of the finished nests. I’ve been extremely pleased with the quality of the images that these cameras take. I’ll be spending all winter sorting through the photos to identify prey items brought to the nest. This will be a long process, as I should have somewhere around 1.2 million photos to look through. Quite an undertaking, but I’m excited to start the task.

It’s been a tough season to this point, full of challenges and some failures, but I’m happy with the success we’ve had to this point. Getting all ten cameras placed was a goal of mine, and I’m happy to have that success. For my first year, and the first year of the project, it has gone well. Above all it has been nothing short of an education. There are certainly fruits in difficulties, mistakes, and failures. Next year, I’ll have some experience to draw upon to increase the success and further the project goals.

 

 

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Support Gyrfalcon Conservation Efforts of The Peregrine Fund Through Year End Donations, or By Purchasing Artwork

by Bryce W. Robinson

Click image to purchase

Click image to purchase **PRINT ONLY** *Original available

The Gyrfalcon, the Polar Bear of the bird world, is truly an iconic symbol of the frozen north.

It is undeniable, the earth is undergoing rapid change. To properly predict and prepare for the impacts this change will have on the Gyrfalcon, The Peregrine Fund has started a program to study particular aspects of Gyrfalcon biology, and form a conservation program.

I am part of The Peregrine Fund team, charged with developing a long term project to monitor Gyrfalcon populations, and conduct necessary research that will inform conservation biologists, to ensure the future of this powerful bird.

Please consider contributing to the efforts of The Peregrine Fund for a year end donation, and be part of a conservation effort aimed at ensuring the future of the Polar Bear of the birds, the Gyrfalcon. Doing so will not only help in the effort to understand and ensure the future of an arctic animal, but will inevitably help in understanding climate change and its real time implications on the earth as a whole, and in turn, on ourselves.

You can become part of this effort by visiting The Peregrine Fund website, and clicking on the DONATE NOW button on the top right of the page. The Peregrine Fund is a registered non-profit 501-C3, so all donations are tax deductible. In the comments section of the donation form, please specify that you wish your gift to contribute to the Gyrfalcon Project.

In an effort to diversify my funding sources, I have started THE GYRFALCON PROJECT, here on ORNITHOLOGI.COM. I will illustrate and paint, to capture the Gyrfalcon in its emblematic form. All illustrations will be featured on the blog and will be available as originals, along with prints. 50% of proceeds from all sales will be donated to The Peregrine Fund to support the Gyrfalcon Project.

Your action will help, no matter how small, in empowering the research and understanding of our rapidly changing world.

If you are interested in commissioning an original of any medium, please contact me at ofbirdsandbATgmail.com.

Revisiting Past Works, for Revision!

by Bryce W. Robinson

Peregrine Falcon- Falco peregrinus. 11x18" prismacolor on bristol

Peregrine Falcon- Falco peregrinus. 11×18″ prismacolor on bristol

I was unpacking some things this evening at my new place in Boise, Idaho. I pulled out some older pieces of artwork that never found a home. When I found the Peregrine Falcon I had drawn a few years ago in the southern California desert, I immediately remembered what I did not like about the image. I immediately felt the urge to sit down and fix some things. I’m not sure if I have ever shared the image on my blog, but regardless, I thought I’d share the revision.

I’m currently working on a very in depth project for someone. Its rather taxing, and I haven’t strayed to work on anything else since I started. I will say that I’ve needed to. At times, getting a break and working on something else for a bit can be refreshing, and give you a different perspective. I believe it is ultimately beneficial.

Anyway, after two years of sitting in a box, I finally felt the gumption to resolve my issues with this illustration. And I like it. Let’s hope this bird can find a home…

Desert Peregrine

by Bryce W. Robinson

Peregrine Falcon- Falco peregrinus. 11×14″ colored pencil on bristol

At times I am asked to check on and re-assess the activity of raptor or raven nests on transmission towers here in the desert. This task requires me to sit vigil to the nest for at least a four hour period, or until I see activity in the nest. Last week I was asked to check on a Red-tailed Hawk nest in a particularly sandy and desolate section of the desert. The first hour was uneventful, until I noticed a bird sitting on the edge of the nest. I hadn’t seen the bird fly in, and so assumed it was a raven that had jumped up to stretch and take a rest from incubation. The bird was dark, and small, but when I looked through the scope, it was not a raven that sat in the nest. The unmistakable face pattern of the Peregrine falcon left me excited and confused.

For the next twenty minutes I tried wrapping my brain around why a Peregrine Falcon, a cliffside nester, would inhabit a Red-tailed Hawk nest in the middle of the desert. They have been documented using old hawk nests, but surely not in the middle of this desert, entirely out of their range. These falcons feed primarily on birds, and this portion of the desert is certainly lacking any bird activity that would sustain a single falcon, let alone a family. The only thing that made sense was that the bird made the daily trip some thirty miles east to the Colorado River to hunt. This seems highly unlikely. After fifteen minutes, the bird hunkered down into the nest. I could hardly believe what I was seeing. Soon after, the bird left the nest, circling high, riding thermals, and making a straight line fly for the south east. I was perplexed. Certainly this bird was not nesting on the tower. I expect it was passing through, and took advantage of the only shaded roost for miles, only to rest. Still, what an enigma.

This mysterious bird is the only Peregrine falcon I have seen all season. It makes sense as they are not seen often in the desert, and certainly do not nest or winter in the area. It is out of their range. I love when birding presents the unexpected. As birds have wings, they certainly can turn up anywhere.

I have been meaning to illustrate this falcon for some time. Today I decided that given last weeks experience, I ought to put forth the energy towards illustrating that distinctive face that left me puzzled and surprised. The bird was very far away, so I couldn’t use my camera get a decent photo. I did make an attempt to use the scope and my phone to get a photo. Certainly there is no mistaking it. The bird was not a Prairie Falcon, a bird that frequents the area I was in. I cropped the photo substantially to make sure the bird was shown clearly.

I also thought I would include another digi-scope attempt I made as I watched a family of Burrowing Owls. These guys were a blast to watch. I only wish I could have used my camera to get some better pictures. Maybe the opportunity will present itself soon. The Burrowing Owl is such a charismatic bird. I love every chance I get to watch them and their antics.