For wildlife, finding food and water in the Southwest desert is a constant search. Over the years I’ve lived in the desert I’ve always put out a little bird seed and watering pans to help ease that struggle. One of the visitors to the water pans are sharp shinned hawks that like to splash in the water to cool off and take a little “shower”. The one I chose to paint is a frequent visitor that takes his shower and then flies into a nearby tree to shake the water off his feathers, do a little preening, and dry off before flying away.
This hawk is about a foot long and with maroon coloring on his chest and a slate gray color on his back with rust-colored barring on his feathers. Unfortunately, he will sometimes attack a nearby dove or quail. This is not a pleasant thing to see but, it is all part of nature’s cycle. These hawks tend to leave our area during the spring, but return during the cooler winter months. They are stately birds of prey, and exciting to see and paint.