I was in Palm Desert today running a number of errands (I always run myself into the ground when I'm there!) and visited the Living Desert again, as I often do when I'm in Palm Desert. My favorite thing to see is the "Wildlife Wonders" show where the critters do what they normally do, only they do it on cue.
My absolute favorite critter is a Harris' hawk named Hudson who flies back and forth over peoples' heads, often close enough to smack people upside the heads with his wings -- but I love it! However, Hudson had the day off, and the other Harris' hawk (Sonora, a female) is on sick leave right now.
But the Living Desert also has other raptors, although the close encounters with them are not as close as the encounters with Hudson.
One of these critters is Sundance, a female redtail hawk. I've painted redtail hawks in landscapes before, but I was always limited to just a few photos I've been able to take over the years of redtails. So the more pictures I can get of Sundance (along with Hudson), the better equipped I'll be for making more paintings with hawks in them.
Also, Harris' hawks are more or less limited to southern Arizona scenes, while redtails are more widely distributed throughout the US. That increases the options for hawk-"infested" landscapes besides the Sonoran desert.
Whenever I see a hawk catch prey, I always feel a little sorry for the prey. Yet, hawks are beautiful animals and efficient predators, they have an important job to do and I'm always thrilled to see them in flight.