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Kisra - Acrylic Portrait

By windfalcon
346 Favourites
This year the raptor center where I volunteer sadly lost one of their oldest birds to old age. Kisra, the American Kestrel, was found in her nest box one morning, as if in peaceful sleep. She was very old (at least 14 years old), and during her life with Horizon Wings she taught countless children and adults about how to help conserve kestrel habitat and prevent birds from hitting windows and becoming injured, which is the injury which caused Kisra to lose part of her wing back in 2000 when she was found.

She also was the first bird for many of the volunteers to handle while learning to work with the birds. She was calm, patient and forgiving of mistakes. Earlier this year, the decision was made to retire her from programs and remove her anklets, so she could live the rest of her life in peace.

She will certainly be missed, and I've never met any kestrel quite like her. May she fly free wherever the wind has taken her.

Acrylic on matboard, 5X7 inches.

A note about her coloration - in her old age, her plumage began to grow grayer and duller, and as a result she began to look more male in her face. In case anyone is confused about the lack of a red patch on her head and the bluish-gray of her head, this is simply the way her plumage was.
Image size
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© 2013 - 2020 windfalcon
anonymous's avatar
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Wolfheart1214's avatar
American Kestrels are simliar to European, but much smaller, and therefore very adorable. Kisra is a very cute one, too, and you dignify her with that beautiful picture very much. May she rest in peace.
Photoshopforearth's avatar
PhotoshopforearthHobbyist Digital Artist
A excellent painting!
Skyelar's avatar
SkyelarHobbyist General Artist
What a sweet old lady -- I work with raptors as part of my job (National Aviary -- you come to Anthrocon every year, right?) and we have an older female kestrel who looks a bit like Kisra.  She's gotten greyer and greyer over the years and she's pushing 12-13.  She's also losing sight to some degree and has a cloudy eye.  Despite her advancing age, she's still a little firecracker and has loads of personality -- she's been a huge part of our education programs and we know we'll never have another kestrel quite like her!  Thanks for making me smile with your tribute to Kisra.  Raptor lovers unite!  ;)
orselis's avatar
orselisProfessional Digital Artist
Great detail. And great story. Working with birds for years has made me collect many touching stories as well. This painting is a wonderful tribute to magnificent bird.
bonefish's avatar
bonefishHobbyist General Artist
From what little I know of American Kestrels in captivity, 14 years is a good, long lifespan. I've heard folks (falconers and people who've been in raptor rehab for a long time) say that 15, maybe 16 years about the max you'll get from a captive AMKE. The old male at my local place is about 9 years old, and we're hoping he'll plug along for awhile yet.

She sounds like she was a great taming bird. Both of the kestrels I've worked with have been bitey and vocal -- you pray for your cuticles every time you jess them -- so it's a pleasant surprise to read about one that's calm and forgiving.

Lovely real media work, and the tidbit about the end about her coloration change is fascinating. She literally grayed with age, I guess!
Stegoraptor's avatar
StegoraptorHobbyist Traditional Artist
that last sentence for her brought a tear to my eye. im sorry for your loss of Kisra, she seems like she was a very nice bird
yansheart's avatar
wow!so cute! his eye is amazing!
CharReed's avatar
CharReedProfessional Digital Artist
Aw, poor baby. What a gorgeous bird she was- and also the way you depicted her! <3
windfalcon's avatar
windfalconProfessional Traditional Artist
She always looked regal, no matter the angle.  I referenced a photo one of the volunteers took during an event where I was holding her.  She just looked perfect from any side.
Mouselemur's avatar
MouselemurHobbyist Photographer
Gorgeous :aww:
TheFullMetalDragon's avatar
TheFullMetalDragonHobbyist Traditional Artist
This is amazingly done... It looks like your entire gallery is this well done. It's outstanding.
I would also like to give my condolences for your loss. :(
Darvia123's avatar
Darvia123Hobbyist General Artist
A beautiful bird indeed. Very well done, a great piece in honor of her.
WhiskerfaceRumpel's avatar
WhiskerfaceRumpelHobbyist Traditional Artist
It sounds like she was a very wonderful falcon to be around, and may she rest in peace. 
Colourful-expresion's avatar
Colourful-expresionHobbyist Traditional Artist
This is a beautiful image, and notably a stunning tribute. 
keight's avatar
A lovely portrait, Brenda.
RaptorFeather's avatar
Wow, it's amazing she lived as long as she did!
GraceJediHeart's avatar
GraceJediHeartHobbyist General Artist
Once again, beautiful work. Sorry about the loss. :petting: 
Jessanmartin's avatar
JessanmartinHobbyist Traditional Artist
So, so beautiful! Amazing work :heart:
sladiewolf's avatar
A perfect portrait to end 2013.  The sad metaphor for both this year and the loss of a friend.  

TanglepathTwelve's avatar
TanglepathTwelveHobbyist General Artist
What a beautiful tribute. She lived a long life!
MagicBirdie's avatar
MagicBirdieHobbyist General Artist
Beautiful portrait :clap:
EdgedFeather's avatar
EdgedFeatherHobbyist Photographer
I am sure she will be missed. This painting is absolutely amazing!
WarFalcon's avatar
WarFalconHobbyist General Artist
'Tis a sad day...
anonymous's avatar
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