Posts Tagged ‘Birds of Prey’

“Turkey Vulture”

May 12, 2020

-(Of course this is a Red Tailed Hawk….I haven’t a painting of a Turkey Vulture)


Knew a woman
in a trailer park
in the scrub pines of Florida.

Poor as a church mouse,
half–crazed by life,
fed all the strays-
pariah of the neighborhood.

Every evening flocks of vultures,
like fixed-wing aircraft,
skimmed the pines,
landed in a muddle of dusty feathers,
awkward, out of their element
and with a group waddle
came to the cat food offered in pans.

They were patient guests,
waited for the strays to finish.

There was decorum
amongst them,
these fierce looking birds.
Perhaps they sensed
the charity offered
humbled their nature,
perhaps they had reformed,
I don’t know.

“Frank” was their leader
who held back until
the others were done.

Frank would never face you,
he sat sideways
though I believe he peeked.
Perhaps he was ashamed
A Lord of the Sky
brought to this station,
filling his crop with kibble
from a dented metal pan.

Come sit with me.
Extend a feather,
I promise not to stare.
Your warty red neck,
your hang-dog countenance
does not disturb me.

Feathers dusty, faded black
on Earth,
but wheeling into the Sun,
how glorious your wings!
Feathers exploding in prisms
And diamonds.

Come sit beside me.
Let our talons dig into the sand
let the ocean cleanse our feathers.
I will call you friend, brother
for the gift of humility
brought in on your wings.

Jane Kohut-Bartels
Copyrighted, 2016 (an earlier form of “Turkey Vulture” was published in “Pitcher of Moon”, 2014, by Amazon.

First Bird of Prey painting….

November 14, 2018

Sigi Steve's bird


Back in the late 90’s…right before Y2K. A friend and Master Falconer, Steve New from Devon, UK sent me a photo of Sigi, his Harris Hawk.  There are many funny stories about Sigi. Birds all have personalities.  I wish Steve would write a book about Sigi, Gizmo (European Eagle Owl) and the many birds he has raised and flown.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2018

“Bald Eagle’

July 5, 2009

Kohut-Bartels-BOP-5I was a painter for years, and did mostly landscapes and birds, birds of prey.  This painting was done a few years ago, and it’s a BIG one.

The problem with watercolor is that backgrounds sometimes with a subject like this, become secondary, boring.  It’s a constant struggle to marry the subject and background,  but I keep trying.

Lady Nyo…who has a painting blog/website: Kohut-Bartels-BOP-5

“Tin Hinan” Chapter 7 (part of)

January 16, 2009

This chapter is also long and I will split it in half.

I used to be a falconer…an apprentice falconer, because you have to train under a Master Falconer for 5 years. My son was very young and feeding and weighing and keeping a hawk is not for the faint hearted. Birds of Prey can be dirty and dangerous. Part of the care is feeding them roadkill. A little of that goes a long way.

Of course I have never hunted with a Golden Eagle, only a Redtailed Hawk, big, slow and clumsy birds. I never understood why we couldn’t start with a fast, sharp, intelligent peregrine…but there you go.

My adventure in this realm was short lived…but I did come away with an appreciation of Birds of Prey, and I painted a lot of them. Immel’s bird is called “Sigi” after my first encounter (and painting) of a Harris Hawk from England. Sigi was the hunting hawk of a very good friend, Steve in Devon. Sigi was a real card. He would sit on the desk and watch the screen and peck at the keys. Steve thought he might be a writer in a past life.

I have a very recent wordpress painting website : with lots of paintings of birds of prey and various landscapes. There is a Golden Eagle there.

This intro about hawks really should be written for the second part of Chapter 7, because that is where the action is. It’s based on what I remember in the fields with others demonstrating with fast hawks and slow pigeons. Berbers and Arabs still hunt with the Golden Eagle, a very powerful and the largest of the birds of prey. They can take a lamb from the field or kill a wolf. There was one Golden Eagle taken in England that had as reported, a wing span of 10 feet. It’s name was Atalanta, and one day, in the 70’s I believe, was shot by a farmer.

Lady Nyo


For two full moons, Takama and I worked in Immel’s house. Right after dawn, we would rise from our pallet and walk into the sparse woods and gather fallen limbs for the family fire. We would bundle the wood and carry it on our backs to the small courtyard before the house. There either Immel or his mother would make the fire and the day would begin. Three times a day we would carry the heavy clay jars to the well and back up the stone stairs to the house. We milked the goats and made the sour yoghurt from their rich milk. Each batch of yoghurt had ancestors from the batch before, because it wouldn’t culture unless the new milk was mixed with the older yoghurt. Each family had their own kind of yoghurt, for it tasted of the goat’s diet. Mother Leila fed her goats dates and barley porridge, the leftovers from our first meal of the day. Our yoghurt was delicious and there was competition amongst the women in the ksar as to who made the best.

Our legs ached with the labor up and down those stone steps, and the steep inclines in the mountain woods. We were desert women, and the sand dunes were the only hills we climbed. This mountain was very different, but water was more plentiful. The river down in the valley fed the well in the center courtyard. There were also springs on the mountain, and we found these with the help of other women.

The weather was changing and the winter season upon us. Already the mornings were cold and frost on the mountain bushes was common. The trees had dropped their leaves, in preparation for the winter. The mountain presented so many changes, things that I never would have imagined in the desert. Takama and I found rodents, rabbits and other small animals that we did not have names for. We saw pigeons and other birds our desert men hunted with falcons.

My father loved his hawks and took me hunting with others when I was a child. This was strange for a man to do, but I was spoiled, being my father’s favorite child. Older brothers had married and gone off to the tents of their wives, and my father treated me as a son with his companionship. My mother at first raised many arguments why this was not proper for a young girl, but my father enjoyed teaching me the skills of our tribesmen. The compromise was I would learn to weave the cloth and rugs, embroider and learn the womanly arts that would make me ‘marriageable’. He could take me hunting and teach me archery, but I had to apply myself to household skills.

When the weather was clear, we set up our small looms to weave a narrow strip of cloth outside the house of Immel’s parents. The rich cottons, linens and silks brought home by the raiders were too expensive for us to wear. They would be traded with other tribes, most likely the Arabs to the east for grains and salt and more weapons. The salt was distributed to each family in the ksar, for salt was indispensable in daily life.

Mother Leila had a large rug loom set up in the big first room, and when it rained or when it didn’t, she could be found nimbly knotting the dyed wool and cutting the excess with her sharp little knife. I had been exempt from the rug loom for this was something that vassals like Takama and her kin would do. I would be employed in fine embroidery and had done a lot of that. When it rained Mother Leila would have us work in the front room, on embroidery or stitching leather bags for the camels and horses. Each piece had symbols and decoration to be considered, and these functioned as amulets and charms for the men. Long fringe was also added, usually wool, because we believed that movement would scare the jinn away from our journeys.

Immel had disappeared. We were told he was taking some of the loot over the mountain pass to trade with another tribe in the far distance. He was expected to be home before a new moon had risen. A journey across the valley, up the mountain, across that particular mountain range and down into another valley would mean a journey of many days. Too many journeys would tempt the evil spirits and they paced their absences from the ksar to a few times a year.

One evening, when Takama was weaving at the small loom and Mother Leila was knotting a rug, Immel came in and flopped down on a padded bench. I was trying to knot fringe for a large saddlebag and was surprised that he would join us. He listened silently to his mother recite a verse of a poem, though she stopped and started numerous times.

“Tin Hinan.” His voice made me look up. “Would you like to go with us to hunt the mountain pigeon? I have asked my father if it would be proper, and he has consulted the elders. They see no objection to a woman learning to hunt with a falcon, for it’s been done before.” He smiled at me brightly, some internal laughter behind his dark eyes.

“What would a proper desert girl know of hunting, Immel? Are you cracked in the head? What woman would want to?” Mother Leila was shocked at the thought.

“But Mother, I know the peregrines, I hunted doves and pigeons many times with my father.”

“Oh, foolish girl, Immel is laughing at you! He has an eagle he hunts, a big and fierce bird. Only he can call it to lure, and sometimes it doesn’t come home.”

“Mother is right, Sigi is large, even for an eagle. He is a Golden. He has a mind of his own, but we are friends.”

A Golden Eagle! My heart pounded.  I had never seen such a bird, though I heard from my father that Arabs hunted with them. An eagle of such power could take a lamb from the field or kill a wolf in the forest!

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