White Kite by George Eade

All raptors have a powerful wild presence – to be near any of them is a very deep spiritual, psychological, religious experience. Humans have totally surrounded themselves with concrete, glass, our own artifacts. We’ve lost something in doing this. When we’re around raptors, who live in a wild, different world, we get that lost something back – we reconnect to something deep, we get a renewal.

Buzz Hull, Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

I chose images of raptors for my website because there are 14 species of raptor that live and nest locally. Another five species are only seen during the fall migration – from mid-August to mid-December, maybe 25,000 to 35,000 raptors fly over the Bay Area. The rough-legged hawk that breeds in the Arctic migrates south all across the United States, and most of the Swaisons hawks migrate from Northern California and the Great Basin all the way to Argentina.

Several peregrines now live in San Francisco. One pair nests on the Golden Gate Bridge, a pair on a bridge in the City of Alameda and another high in a building in San Francisco. Peregrine falcons are considered to be the fastest birds – they can reach speeds of 180 to 220 miles per hour in their dives.

The goal of achieving a balance between the wild and the urban experience inspires my practice. I had had the good fortune to be a volunteer at the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory for fifteen years counting hawks. This has given me a front row seat in the amazing migration of these birds.

Regarding the image above of two Great Horned Owl fledglings. The bird on the left is about to take off and fly, which is what all birds must do eventually. The bird on the right is not so sure about this and is holding down his sibling with his foot to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere. But of course he did.

Juvenile Great Horned Owls by Jeff Wilson