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 Smoke Jumper -- Aplomado Falcon (1995)

Acrylic on illustration board
19" x 30"
 Prior to reaping, sugar cane rows are burned to facilitate harvesting. The flames send many insects, rodents and other little creatures scurrying for their lives, and small, agile raptors like the neotropical aplomado falcon (Falco femoralis) quickly learn to associate these seasonal fires with easy hunting. Agriculture, however, is a double-edged sword for the aplomado falcon, which seems to disappear completely from areas that are intensively farmed. This falcon with long legs and tail inhabits open areas from the U.S./Mexican border to Patagonia. The locust (family Acrididae) is a large and common insect in Guanacaste province, Costa Rica, where it found its way into my sketchbooks, althoughh aplomado falcons are strangely absent from this area.