A studio for bird study

Tag: prey

Using Nest Cameras to Monitor Gyrfalcon Diet

by Bryce W. Robinson

Gyrfalcon Nest with Camera

While I’ve been sharing images and stories from Alaska concerning my work with Gyrfalcons, I’ve neglected to share any aspect of the work that has brought me here. I chose the image above to provide insight into the idea behind The Gyrfalcon Project. In the past month, Neil Paprocki and I have installed 6 motion sensor cameras in Gyrfalcon nests to monitor their diet during the nestling period. This information will give us a better idea of how changes in the system will impact the ability of these birds to reproduce. 6 cameras is a good start for the project, but I am capable of outfitting four more nests with cameras this season. The issue is access, and at the moment I’m scrambling to formulate a plan to put out the final four and round out the season with ten total cameras gathering valuable data of nesting Gyrfalcons. I’ll keep interested readers updated regarding our success. Please feel free to comment about questions, ideas, concerns, or general queries. I’ll do my best to respond when I’m able.  And the Gyrfalcon beat goes on!


Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk- Buteo lagopus

by Bryce W. Robinson

IMG_3005I haven’t been taking photos of raptors lately. I think I need to devote my next free day to hitting the open western road, solely in search of raptors.

I took this photo last winter at Farmington Bay, in Utah. I miss that place. Idaho has good raptors, but nothing compares to the close looks that you obtain at Farmington Bay.


Prairie Falcon- Falco mexicanus

by Bryce W. Robinson

Prairie Falcon- Falco mexicanus. 18x24" prismacolor on bristol

Prairie Falcon- Falco mexicanus. 18×24″ prismacolor on bristol

Of all the raptors I illustrate, it seems falcons give me the most trouble. I’m not entirely sure why, but the fact that I struggle with the family is a bit disheartening, as it is likely to be a group I spend a considerable amount of time studying for the rest of my life. Perhaps with time, I’ll work out the bugs in my inability to adequately illustrate the birds.

Falco mexicanus is a significant illustration for me. I’ve conducted a great deal of field work in the west, primarily in the flats of the great basin, and I’ve had many experiences with the sandy brown assassin. Get yourself lost on lonely dirt roads of the remote great basin in midst of winter, and you will undoubtedly come upon a Prairie Falcon perched on some high point, surveying for prey.

I remember last year, I was searching for eagles on the edge of the salt flats of north western Utah. I had pulled over to glass a mountain top, and found myself watching a perched Golden Eagle, some two kilometers away by my estimate. While I watched the bird, I notice a fast approaching figure headed straight for the large raptor. The figure was in fact the Prairie Falcon, come to conduct its business of bullying the large eagle. The tenacious bastard kept at it for nearly five minutes, until finally the eagle had enough of the dodging, and fled from the persistent falcon pest.

My success with illustrating this bird is fortunate, and gives me the courage to start a project that will be focused on gleaning some much needed extra funding for my work with the worlds largest falcon this summer. Stay tuned as this idea develops and materializes.

New HawkWatch International Shirts, Featuring My Artwork

by Bryce W. Robinson

HWI new shirts

HawkWatch International recently released a few shirt designs featuring artwork of mine. My friend Mike Shaw had the great idea for a design that took a field guide type format, and put it on the shirt. The shirts feature two Buteos, the Red-tailed Hawk- Buteo jamaicensis, and the Rough-legged Hawk- Buteo lagopus. These illustrations feature callouts that give the viewer a few key tips at identifying the bird. I love the idea, and the shirts turned out great.

A little background on the development of one shirt, the Red-tailed Hawk, might be interesting to some. I really love this illustration for its purity. While counting the raptor migration last fall on the Goshutes Raptor Migration Site in eastern Nevada, I had plenty of time in the evenings to sit by candle light and draw some of the things I saw that day. This illustration was done at nine thousand feet, on the top of a mountain, in the middle of the magic of migration, by candle light. It makes it more special to me, and I hope those that now know where that illustration was born, might enjoy it all the more. I love things with a story attached.

Here are a few images of the illustration on the mountain:

The inception of the illustration

The inception of the illustration

The result, with a splash of the candle light that helped create the image

The result, with a splash of the candle light that helped create the image

If you would like to check out the shirts, or would like to buy any HawkWatch International merchandise follow the link below:

New Shirt Designs Featuring the Art of B William Robinson

HawkWatch International is an incredible organization. I encourage you to support them by purchasing one of their new items. To be transparent, I do not benefit financially from the sales of these shirts. I simply want to see more people joining conservation initiatives. It would be neat to meet someone on the road that I didn’t know from Adam, garnished in one of these shirts, supporting and spreading the good will of conservation, and of course the knowledge and fun of raptor ID.