Sunday, December 28, 2008

Sonora -- More About Her

As I mentioned in a previous post, Sonora is a female Harris' hawk who "performs" at the Living Desert in Palm Desert, CA. Her routine spotlights a little of her hunting prowess.

In the top photo, she's emerging from an opening behind some rocks. She flies to the top of a saguaro skeleton (you can see her on top of this structure in the 12 December 2008 post), from where she looks towards the top of a nearby hill where an employee has placed a mouse (previously frozen, now thawed). Sonora then flies to the hilltop, eats the mouse, then "divebombs" back into the amphitheater (middle picture) where she lands on the rocks and enters the opening from whence she came (third pic), returning to the ethereal world where raptors dwell.

It's an amazing little show. All the critters do what they do in nature, but they do it in a way so we can see it happen. I've been able to collect a number of pictures of critters I will want to paint (and have already painted) in a much shorter period of time than if I had been in the field.

The Harris' hawks (including Hudson, a male who flies back and forth over the audience's heads) seem to fascinate me the most. I LOVE those little guys!

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