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Our Friendly Neighborhood Raptors

Another highlight of 2020 was the fun we had observing raptors in our neighborhood and the surrounding area. They always brighten our day, whether we're hearing the call of a red-shouldered hawk, seeing a Cooper's hawk zip through the trees, or watching a red-tailed hawk staring at the ground (which is more exciting than it sounds, I swear).

The fun really began when we discovered that a tall pine tree in a nearby park housed a family of red-tailed hawks. The tree holding the nest stood at the end point of our daily walk, so every morning we would excitedly approach to see what kind of hijinks the chicks were up to.

A juvenile red-tailed hawk in a nest.

Sometimes we'd see mom or dad leaving on a grocery run, or returning from one, and we watched the chicks grow from little fluffballs to gawky fledglings. We even got to see one take an early flight (maybe its first), crossing a parking lot to make an awkward landing in another tree.

An adult red-tailed hawk perched in a sycamore tree.

Turkey vultures are very commonly spotted in our neighborhood. They seem to roost in nearby limestone quarries, and we often see them gathering to ride the thermals and snapping up dead critters by the side of the road. That's what this vulture was doing, attempting to move a squirrel off the road, getting spooked by traffic, retreating to our neighbor's lawn, and repeating. 

A turkey vulture standing on a freshly mown lawn next to a sidewalk.

Birds of prey are a reminder to us that you don't have to go far to observe charismatic and beautiful wildlife. So it's only natural that raptors are a constant source of inspiration to us. Whether we encounter them in the neighborhood, in the wilds, or at a presentation from local groups like WildCare, Indiana Raptor Center, and Utopia Wildlife Rehabilitators, it's very hard to resist the urge to start drawing.

An oval sticker reading "catch some rays" with an illustrated turkey fulture spreading its wings against a sunny sky.

Catch some rays! We felt that it was only fitting to depict a happy turkey vulture soaking up the sun, since so often these beautiful birds don't get the love they deserve.

 

A framed screen print of a Burrowing owl in a desert setting

While we mostly focus on the wildlife and plants of our region, when we saw a burrowing owl up close for the first time at Pittsburgh's National Aviary, we knew we'd have to design a print. 

A round sticker with the text "stay golden" and an illustration of a golden eagle.

One of our enduringly good sellers is the "stay golden" golden eagle. You just can't help but feel empowered by this majestic mug!

A round 1.5 inch button featuring the message "I'd Rather Be Fishing" and an illustrated osprey.

Osprey are another favorite, if sometimes overlooked, raptor. We couldn't help but think that there would be plenty of fisherfolks who might relate to these peerless avian anglers!

If you're a total raptor-head, we've created a special birds of prey collection where you can see all of the buttons, stickers, and prints we've made to share the love of birds of prey.