wildfowl-carving.com

Prairie Falcon, Part One

Using hand and power tools, a skilled carver discovers the raptor within a tupelo block.

Photography by Laurie Truehart

The piece is now ready for painting. Because I use oils, I do not seal the wood before painting. Instead, I rely on multiple layers of paint. I’ll demonstrate the painting in the next issue.

The prairie falcon (Falco mexicanus) is a medium-sized falcon with a general length of around 16 inches. Although the male and female are similarly marked, the female is the larger of the two. The birds range over the grasslands and prairies in the dry country of western America. Unlike the large peregrine falcon, the prairie falcon often flies low, overtaking small birds in flight and scooping up small animals. It makes a very simple nest, no more than a scrape or even bare ground, generally on an open ledge or the side of a cliff.

Although I have carved many species of falcons and other raptors, this is my first prairie falcon. I wanted to capture the bird's alertness and intelligence yet maintain a fairly simple pose. By raising the foot, I gave this piece a more regal feel and added extra character to this beautiful bird. 

This article is from the Spring 2011 issue. For more information on our issues, check out our issues page.

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