Ready for Flight – Peregrine Falcon
(scroll down for description)
18” x 36”, acrylic, 1983
The most exciting raptor in the world is possibly the peregrine falcon. It is one of the fastest creatures on the planet. Its speed in a dive has been estimated at between 150 and 200 miles per hour. The peregrine is built for the chase in an elongated teardrop shape - the ultimate in streamlining.

In this painting I wanted to give the appearance of motion in a stationary bird. It is leaning forward with eyes intent on a potential prey. The shape of the wings and muscular, scapular feather tracts on the back all lend this sense of dynamic power. The eyes do not appear fierce and ruthless as in other birds of prey. They have an almost deep and thoughtful expression. It is certain that once a peregrine decides on a bird for its dinner, that bird has very little chance of escape. The hawk can fly almost twice as fast as most of his victims. It sometimes rolls over and clutches from below. With prey larger than itself, it strikes from above with a clenched fist sending the prey to the ground where it is dispatched, then at least partially plucked before eating. Several times I have seen neat rings of duck feathers and down; the sure sign of a peregrine meal.

In this painting I wanted to have the rock emphasize the form and power of the bird as well as the texture of the feathers. The rings of sea foam at the bottom of the painting indicate the surf-pounded coastlines that are a favourite peregrine habitat.