I am a Harris Hawk and I am well looked after. My ancestors came
from the New World - in
fact anywhere between the southwestern USA and Chile. As Wikipedia will tell you,
my kind are named after Harris, who
accompanied, and financially supported, James Audubon, author of "Birds of America"
published between 1827 and 1839. (You can see an engraving of one of my ancestors in
an original edition of the book in London's Natural History Museum).
Hi! This is my portrait.
I am a three year old guy and my name is "Guinness"
- although I don't think I've ever tried the brew!
Also according to Wikipedia, since about 1980, my kind have been increasingly used in falconry and
are now the most popular hawks in the West for falconry, since my kind "are the easiest
to train and the most social". Of course, I am not just for show. I earn my keep by keeping
order at a local farm.
Here are some pictures showing me in all my avian splendor.
The neighbour who took these pictures apologises for some odd colour effects which his Fuji camera
has produced in the
lower left corner of a few of these pictures. So well he might. The Fuju wasn't a good buy and
it may be a "Good Bye" - to the camera that is.
As I mentioned, I am already 3 years old, and I enjoy soaking up the sunshine in the garden.
I'm still quite a
young guy, because, apparently, I have a life expectancy of about 25 years in captivity
with a maximum of 12 years 7 months recorded in the wild - now that's not
bad for a bird.
Here I am in close-up.
Please do admire my nice reddish-brown "breeches"!
That's me looking very serious. I am moulting, but I do that once a year and then I am all OK for
another year. Two blackbirds have nested nearby, and try and mob me - but I get used to that.
Of course, they should really show more respect.
That's me full-frontal. I normally enjoy hunting in packs, but I admit I wasn't too
pleased when I was given the opportunity to meet another bird of my kind. Those who
look after me ensured that the socializing encounter was quickly terminated.
Who is this ...
... who is trying to photograph me?
I shall speak to him in no uncertain terms! Krrree! Krrree! Krrree!
Maybe I need to think about it. ...
... After all, having my pictures on the web might make me famous!
Just look at my claws - but I can't get through this leather glove!
That's me looking pensive.
That's me looking inquisitive.
I am a slim-liner, because I keep to a strict diet, which ensures
that I stay fit and active - ready for anything! I only eat meat.
Day-old chicks are nice. Note my sharp curved beak - designed
to obtain and prepare my food.
Meat gives me everything I need: protein, vitamins, carbohydrates
and much more - including water. Of course, I do like a drink
occasionally - strictly non-alcohlic, you understand.
Now, what's over here?
"What was behind me?", I ask, turning round.
What's down here ...
... and over there ...
... and down here? You see, I am always on the look out and very observant!
There are quite a few descriptions about my relatives. For example,
James Audubon's book
(19th century) has a very nice engraving of one of my lady ancestors in all her splendor.
Of course, as you
might expect, Wikipedia has a good coverage and also further links which
I'd say are definitely worth exploring.
I hope you liked my pictures. I'm not really vain, but I'm a very
handsome bird actually.
You might see more of me in the future - at least on the web. Indeed, on your travels,
you might also be lucky to see some of my relatives.
Oh, as a parting shot, here is one of my handsome feathers, now surplus to my requirements.
You can see some white down near the base. Alas, long gone are the days of quill pens!
On the right is the "inside" - a milder colour. As I reach maturity, so my
formerly beige plumage will darken, but at the moment I am a carefree young bird.
And finally, I can't resist showing you another fine portrait of myself.
I think I look really handsome in this one!
Goodbye for now. Krrree! Krrree! Krrree!