Sunday, 30 June 2013

Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon is not an easy bird to observe.  Most of the time in Tennessee we see them migrating through or, occasionally, wintering over on a building where they hunt for pigeons.
The watercolor, "Peregrine Falcon" (below), appears in my article "The Peregrine Falcon in Tennessee" in the July/August issue of the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine published by the TN Dept of Environment and Conservation.  The sketches above in my sketchbook gave me practice in getting my mind wrapped around the shape and expression of this incredible species.  

I had the good fortune to encounter a falconer giving an educational program with his Peregrine while I attended a Sandhill Crane Festival in Fairbanks, AK, last summer.  While my mind was on vacation, and the article forgotten, I found myself attracted to this bird and took photos while I observed his attitude and behavior.  These photos turned out to be great help in refreshing my memory while creating the painting!
The Peregrine Falcon was one of the first species to be added to the Endangered Species List in 1973 with only 324 breeding pairs confirmed in all of North America, a decline attributed to the widespread use of DDT after WWII.  After many years of restorative efforts, the Peregrine was removed from the List in 1999 and in 2012, USFWS reported that between 2000-3000 breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons were confirmed in the United States, Canada, and Mexico.

Links and resources:
Peregrine Falcon article in TN Conservationist Magazine
More details on the progress of the painting
Cornell with more information on the Peregrine Falcon

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