I tend to draw primarily mammals, but falcons have a special meaning to me. One of the falcon species native to my area is the peregrine, famous for being the fastest animal on earth, with speeds topping 300mph in their headfirst dives. I wanted to capture this in a drawing.
After being nearly wiped out by DDT in the '70s, the peregrine has made a full comeback in population. I recently had the opportunity to attend a seminar on raptor identification, focusing on the species here in New Mexico. Falcons have two key features: first, the area around the eye is completely devoid of feathers and matches the cere (area around the nose) in color. Second, they all have a malar stripe, a dark patch of feathers that goes straight down from the center of the eye, though the stripe is sometimes hard to identify in individuals with a full dark cheek.
Falcons' greatest strength is also their greatest weakness. The raptor can dive fast from great heights and knock flying birds out of the sky, catch them, and fly off to eat. Because of their speed and concentration on their next meal, they cannot see the power lines in their way. An impact with a power line can sever a wing, or cause severe tissue damage or electrocution. A portion of sales of prints and the original will go to The Wildlife Center which
rescues and rehabilitates these beautiful birds.