A studio for bird study

Tag: winter

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.


The Christmas Bird 2013: American Tree Sparrow- Spizella arborea

by Bryce W. Robinson


Every year I illustrate a bird for the holiday season. This year, I’m a bit early, but only because I wanted to open the Christmas Bird for purchase as a print. You can visit the ornithologiart store, and purchase a print. Available are 4×6″ for $8.00, 5×7″ for $12.00, and 5×7″ matted for $15.00. Click the photo to purchase, or simply follow the link: ornithologiart.

The American Tree Sparrow is a breeder of the high north Taiga lands. It migrates to the lower parts of North America during winter, and is a favorite feeder bird of many. I chose the American Tree Sparrow because I feel it captures the spirit of the season, and is emblematic of the winter solstice. This is a great holiday gift for any birder.

From both Caitlin and I, Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Solstice. However you choose to celebrate the season, we hope you have a great time with family, friends, and of course, birds.

The White Owl of the North

by Bryce W. Robinson

Snowy Owl- Bubo scandiaca. 9x12" prismacolor on bristol.

Snowy Owl- Bubo scandiaca. 9×12″ prismacolor on bristol.

Sometimes the internet, or electronics, take so much away from life. I wanted to write in depth about my experience of seeing my very first glimpse of a Snowy Owl last week. I powered out a long story about the experience. When I went to post the story, the page reset and I lost everything. For whatever reason the regular save as you go feature was not working. Oh the misfortune, but life goes on.

So now I have neither the time nor the energy to write about that day. I just wanted to share an illustration I did of the bird. It was too far for any photographs, so I decided to capture and celebrate the experience by illustrating the white owl. I have found that illustration is always an appropriate way to pay homage to new experiences. This way, all I need to do is look at this image, and memories will flood into my mind of the evening that I first saw the white owl of the north.

The Gyrfalcon as a Milestone

by Bryce W. Robinson

Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus

Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus

Today I ventured north into Idaho with Jerry Liguori and Caitlin Davis. We were in search of a Gyrfalcon, the largest falcon in the world, a dweller of the arctic. I really didn’t hold my hopes too high for finding any Gyrfalcons, mostly to curb any disappointment, but really we were on the hunt for a wandering creature on wings, in a vast and open land. In my eyes, the odds were stacked against us.

We made our heading to the area where the bird had been reported, and upon arrival, began our diligent search for what was truly a needle in a haystack. Not thirty minutes following the inception of our search, we spotted a perching raptor some telephone poles down the line. My excitement quickly grew, as I realized I was approaching what was to be the first falco rusticolus of my life, a veritable holy grail to my raptor watching.

How quickly we found the bird was remarkable. It went far better than expected. The bird turned out to be an adult, not the juvenile we were after. That meant that two Gyrfalcons were in the area. Quite spectacular to me, but perhaps something more common than anyone is yet to realize. Or maybe it is just this winter, as it seems many species of the north have ventured in large numbers to our lower lands.

I feel I dropped the ball as they say, so far as photography goes. I did my best for good photos of the bird, but honestly, the photo was not what the experience was about for me. It was a first in my life. I saw a bird on a long journey, from a harsh landscape far to the north, escaping a place so frigid and formidable it chose a winter setting in Idaho to ensure its survival. This bird is rare, it is beautiful, it is tough. This bird is wild. And today marks a great milestone in my exposure and education in the world of birds. I finally, with the help and direction of Jerry, saw Falco rusticolus, the Gyrfalcon.

Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus

Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus