For the last several years, I have visited the same friends in the Texas Hill Country and I still need directions. Even so, I will inevitably make a wrong turn at the last fork in the road. My favorite friend to visit is a four year old Vulture named Buffy who was orphaned and had to be hand fed and cared for until she learned to survive on her own. Even after she learned to fly and was able to soar with the other Vultures she never needed a map to find her way back to her birthplace. Our friend Bruce has a way with birds and has rescued and rehabilitated numerous species through the years. They remind me of dogs with feathers. As much as I have read about birds, especially birds of prey, I am still clueless as to how they are able to migrate. I can’t even drive to the north side of San Antonio without a map. If you call someone a birdbrain it is supposed to be an insult, but more and more I realize how fascinating and complex birds are. Two weeks ago, Buffy and another Vulture were brought here to our ranch to be released so that they would have a safe environment free of the dangers of highways and power lines. We kept them confined to the aviary for a week and then according to plan we released them hoping that they would stay within a mile or so. Not a chance…..Yesterday, my phone rang. I did not recognize the area code or number. “Buffy is here perched on my shoulder” The call was from Dave, a neighbor of Bruce’s. My little birdbrain had flown 100 miles.
We see these Falcons hovering over our pastures and diving down at awesome speeds, doing flips and dives attacking their prey. They are flashy and beautiful and fun to watch. I am working on this pan pastel painting to add to a series of Falcon paintings that will be part of a fund raiser for Last ChanceForever a rescue operation for all birds of prey…To purchase this painting or any other paintings please click here: leicalady.etsy.com Thank-you!
We have lots of these birds around the ranch, but these two we call Chilly and Willy have been coming back for the last two years and raising their young in a nearby nest. We supplement their food supply in exchange for the pleasure of watching them soar and show off for us.
I forgot how wonderful our Canon 300 mm lens is, until I switched from the 70 to 210 zoom to take pictures of the Falcons that were showing off for us. They were the opening act before the fireworks display that we had later the night of the 4th of July. They knew that they would be rewarded with a treat left on the fence post…..