Monday, December 21, 2009

Or A Falcon

Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus); New York City

"I am no more lonely than a single mullein or dandelion in a pasture, or a bean leaf, or sorrel, or a horse-fly, or a bumblebee. I am no more lonely than the Mill Brook, or a weathercock, or the north star, or the south wind, or an April shower, or a January thaw, or the first spider in a new house."

- Henry David Thoreau
Image credit: ripped from Pete.Mac's Flickr photostream


Donald Frazell said...

Or a hawk, perhpas the one that was less than ten feet from me sitting on the fence behind my lime tree. I hope it was hunting and gets that damn squirrel I just chased away with a tennis racket that was eating my limes. Squirrel stew, right?

Wild animals have lost their fear of us, we no longer blow them away on sight. They fight and kill each other constantly, seen a group of four ravens scaring the long tail hawks over off the San Gabriel river. And the humnmingbird goes after everything, the hawks hunting prey that isnt quite so feisty and quick.

Got my triptych up finally after a year, check it out. Quite appropriate for Islam and Judaism as well as Christianity, you can see whatever you want in it, fits all forms of spiritual beings, still the Judgment all have in it, most religions do. But it is personal, not an end all group thing, but what we must all answer to someday, on our deathbed, or hopefully before. A daily part of our prayers and positive self criticism hopefully.

Hope you arent too badly snowed in, nice here in sunny cali. Sorry, no it sucks, its terrible, earthquakes and all sorts of disasters(dont need anymore moving here:)

art collgia delenda est
Save the Rodia/Watts Towers, tear down the Ivories.

Chris Rywalt said...

Last year I went with my kids on a class trip to a reservation here in New Jersey where they have, among other things, a show on birds of prey. The guy hosting the show and putting the birds through their paces was an entertaining character in his own right, but of course the birds were amazing. I learned that falcons are bird hawks -- hawks that prey on other birds.

I have some photos. I should dig them up.

andrea said...

I live in the suburban neighbourhood right beside one of the densest bird-of-prey regions in Canada. Lately there's been an owl hunting in my backyard and there's a pair of bald eagles who live nearby. I am wowed every time I see any of them or a hawk (not to mention the herons who fish in my neighbours' koi pond :).

Hungry Hyaena said...


Or a hawk, indeed. Or the minerals that are ground into pigment.


New York's peregrines are supreme pigeon hunters. I've seen more than one pigeon knocked out of the air by a plummeting falcon.


Beautiful. It's an honor to watch any bird, but raptors are especially striking....and humbling.

Donald Frazell said...

I love to see eagles, saw many Goldens when climbing over the Sierras in the Wilderness areas north of Yosemite when young, just above our heads when over 10k foot up. Bald eagles would be great. We got lots of herons, white and blue, and egrets here in Long beach, the area along the San Gabriel "river" has parks, nature center, oil fields, and wetlands nearby on the other side of Seal Beach, and they are often in there, with dozens of pellicans, cormorants and gulls. But no eagles.

And not in the back yard, but lots of other crazy crates like jays, hummingbirds, mockingbirds finches, orioles and songbirds, and now hawks been hanging out and having babies nearby, til they get bratty like human teenager and they leave em to fend for themselvs, whe they whine for days til they finally get it, they are on their own, We are not that dissimlar from other animals, nor they from us. Gotta cut the umbilical cord.

Sit in back in the summer and watch the Monarchs, Tiger Swallow Tails and Mourning Cloaks battle over the milk weed plants. The smallest the Mourning cloak tends to kick their asses, but the Monarchs feed only on the milkweeds, had nine caterpillars lately almost devouring the whole thing, most gone into coccoon lately but four still eating away.

Nature adapts, how well we will remaisn to be seen. Not all will make it, crittesrs of humans, but things go on, would be nice if we did a better job of caretaking, and thats what art is for, we better get to it, the days of self expression and Meism are over. We got purpose time to get to it.

How did you like my remake of LACMA CR? Its all beige, the top photo now has white pillars and still got more correctiosn to do. Museum people have no imaginations its so easy, I could remake the whole place for half a mil, and they want $750. Lame

art collegia delenda est
happy kwanzaa, or whatever
works for y'all! a-salaam malaikum

Chris Rywalt said...

I get a kick, Donald, over how you just suggested birds have to cut the umbilical cord.

Regarding falcons, I forget the exact numbers, but the expert lecturing us on birds of prey said a stooping falcon is clocked as the fastest animal on the planet. Something over two hundred miles an hour.

Seeing them in action is fantastic.

Chris Rywalt said...

Ah, here are some photos. This is the guy who rescues the birds and trains them. He's a character. I wish I could get his personality across to you. I'd recommend you see his show except I can't find a Website to link to for the reservation and I don't remember his name. Woe is me.

Here's the owl that flew for us. Here it is in flight. The host specifically pointed out to us that this type of owl -- I think it's a great horned owl -- has no enemies in the wild. It doesn't hunt at night, he said, it hunts whenever it wants, when it's hungry. And if you've ever lost a cat or a small dog and you thought it ran away, well, it may have been eaten by one of these owls.

And here is a hawk. I think. Christopher, you'll correct me on my identifications, I imagine. Seeing this bird in flight is almost a religious experience. So I'm going to include this last photo of of its taking flight even though it's not perfect.

Hungry Hyaena said...


Thank you for sharing the regional and local observations.

Merlin told us that the only thing for a despairing or abused mind is to learn. I agree, but I also find that nature observation is similarly edifying and revivifying.


Wow, those are tremendous pictures! Thanks for sharing.

The owl that you photographed is, as you thought, a great horned owl (Bubo virginianus). While it's true that the great bird doesn't need to hunt at night, it generally does. Growing up on Virginia's Eastern Shore, the horned owl would wait until just before dawn to drop from a perch high above our chicken yard, taking the early bird rooster as he emerged from the coop. Once it pinned the screaming rooster to the ground, the large owl would decapitate the chicken with its powerful beak. Then, wraith-like, the bird would lift from the ground and carry the body into the twilight. My father would hear the rooster's cries, and run out into the backyard in his bathrobe, firing a shotgun into the sky to scare off the owl. It was always too late. There is a brutal magic in that repeated scene, one I tried to picture a few years back.

The handsome hawk that you photographed is the Harris hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus), a species that is very popular with falconers. They're remarkably beautiful animals!