Redtail Hunting

Redtail Hunting

Do you remember the first time you encountered a hawk?  I do.  DDT had just about wiped out our birds of prey so the world I emerged into was quieter than it should have been.  My family and I moved to a rural corner of northern Illinois in 1974.  On the one hand, it was grand~great stretches of open land were available for exploration.  I had woods, fields and wetlands to play in.  But even as a kid I could tell that something was wrong.  There were a lot of thorns, a few big old oaks, a lot of one kind of grass, and no flowers to speak of.  Still, I loved it all.  And so it was out there in the field when I first heard that cry that stopped me in my tracks and lifted my eyes…a Red-tailed Hawk! Wow!  How exciting.  With DDT not used (here) anymore, their numbers have rebounded.  Nature rewove a strand into her fabric, right before my eyes.  Talk about wonder.

I’m still thrilled when I see one.  I was hiking up along a ridge last fall when this one dropped right in front of me.  I think he missed his mouse, but he paused long enough to allow me to admire him.  Happy sigh.

Published by melissabluefineart

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30 thoughts on “Redtail Hunting

  1. Hi Melissa …how very beautiful your blog is ! Thankyou for entering my door this morning and introducing yourself ….the art work is amazing along with your musings and I will enjoy following you on your lovely journey ….xxx

  2. Good Morning! I enjoyed this post. I felt like I was there with you hearing the cry and then again this fall. How amazing it must have been for you to witness up close those magnificent birds. I like the painting too. xo Kim

  3. I think you captured ‘the look’ of frustration. I’ve seen it many times. The bird will keep trying and succeed.

    Aren’t they a beautiful bird? When we are out walking, we often see them. They soar or perch by the road when we go for a drive. In the early morning, they usually sit waiting for warm air thermals. They soar so effortlessly circling in search of the next meal, or just to have fun.

    I’m really glad we have them to enjoy.

    1. Thank you Maria,
      I’m relieved to hear you say this. I was worried about the grasses, to tell you the truth. At first I painted them meticulously, but it stilled the scene too much so I went back and forced myself to make them loose. That keeps the energy going.

  4. Beautiful picture – the bird is well camouflaged and perhaps a touch indignant at the mouse that got away. DDT was the culprit for the demise of Peregrines and Sparrowhawks too – apex predators both. Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring woke us up and both Peregrines and Sparrowhawks are now common sights. I am glad the Red-tails have made a comeback too.

    1. Thank you Andrew, I was hoping he blended in with his surroundings.
      It scares me to think how close we came to losing these birds. Today the chemical arms race is still on, and as I see amphibians and favorite insects disappear I feel very frustrated. Even in the nature restoration efforts it is felt that Monsanto’s products are the only means of controlling exotics. When I have spoken out about this I get roundly shouted down, so I can just imagine the courage it took to do what Rachel Carson did.

  5. Thank goodness for Rachel Carson and the elimination of DDT. Unfortunately and I guess out of necessity, I believe it is still used outside the U.S. in some lesser developed countries to fight malaria.

    I love the sound of a redtail as it glides overhead. They are such impressive fliers and hunters. I guess some do miss the mark occasionally and you have done a nice job depicting one such moment. How obliging of this frustrated hunter to allow you a few moments to admire. Excellent work, Melissa.

    1. Yes, I send a thanks for Rachel’s work every time I see a raptor. Just think~what if she hadn’t persevered and written that book? It is sobering. Certainly those who continue to manufacture and use DDT want us to believe that it is still necessary to combat malaria but I don’t accept that. In my science classes the professors would speak of finding the most elegant solution to a problem. I loved that. And anything that causes as much harm as DDT is not, I feel, elegant.

  6. Gorgeous blog! I sometimes have brown goshawks visiting my yard in and sometimes see them on my hikes. I do love to watch these birds of prey flying high and free in the sky. Your artwork is beautiful. I love it.

  7. Red-tails are quite common here just outside the city in the hills, and countryside. I see and photograph them often. A couple of years back there was a Cooper’s hawk right in the Ginko tree across the street! I managed to grab my camera and get a good image of him. I too love seeing the Hawks, and Falcons.

    Your painting is lovely. It reminds me of central valley in the fall.

  8. It’s a lovely painting of one of my favorite birds. We have other species, but the red tail is quite common. When the raptor migrations are taking place, and the number of birds spikes, it’s fun to see them spacing themselves out along the wires — for hunting purposes, I suppose. Everyone gets their own field!

    Those two leaves add a good bit of interest, too. I tried to imagine the painting without them, and I think it would have seemed to be missing something. They’re perfect.

  9. Lovely painting and words. The painting makes me yearn for that space… its smells and sounds… the feel of the wind… the excitement at seeing such a powerful and beautiful bird. I rarely see hawks. Coincidentally, a day after seeing the image of your painting, I saw one a couple of blocks from my house!

  10. Happy sigh and happy sight. I’m reminded that the English word hawk is related to the word have (in its sense of ‘hold, hold onto’).

    I like the fallow-time-of-year colors in your painting.

    1. Thank you for mentioning that. I have created an “about” page, but it doesn’t show up. I don’t know what I am doing wrong but I’ll try again. Thank you for visiting 🙂 I really like the thoughts you share on your beautiful blog.

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