Jr Walker


Well-known member
Named after Walker, my favorite Harris's hawk at the US branch of The British School of Falconry in Manchester, VT.

Around 2/3 life size for a male Harris at 10" long, hence the Jr, and also because Harrises, which are dead silent outdoors, make an infernal racket when you get a dozen indoors, which is sorta reminiscent of the braying saxophone of the great Junior Walker (and the Allstars).

All the falconry furniture, as it's called, is faux. No leather. The only metals are two small loops of florist's wire that attach the bells to the bewits, which are threaded around the tarsi, and the silver leaf on the bells, which are wood. The bewits and hunting straps are made of Japanese mulberry paper, in exactly the same way as the real thing. Aylmeri anklets are wood; the grommets are painted with metallic bronze acrylic. The branch is half real and half tupelo, painted.

One of the things I like most about this one is how far the head is turned from the front view. It doesn't look that way in profile. Note that the rictal bristles between the eye and beak are only present in the close up. They're the last thing to paint, and I hadn't yet done them in the full shots. The paint color of the wing coverts and "flags" is the rich burnt sienna in the full shots; I don't know why it came out too pale in the closeup.

Jr Walker, 1999
Epoxy putty (feet)
Copper (talons)
Mulberry paper
Silver leaf
Thuya burl


walker full.JPG


Walker Outdoors.JPG
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WOW!!! Do you still have this one? It is incredible. So amazingly meticulous. A perfect specimen. You keep blowing me away. I probably just keep sounding too gushing. I'm sorry.
Thanks to everyone.

I donated him to the British Campaign for Falconry, to be auctioned at the 2000 Falconers' Fair.

He was the last complete full body realistic raptor I ever carved. After this, I started going my own way, much to the disappointment of both my both bird carving mentors. The second, who had big plans for me, never spoke to me again after seeing Laura the gilded otter. No carver who saw Misha the gilded hawk head could comprehend what I was trying to accomplish with it. Of the hummingbirds, as mentioned, Gary Yoder was the only one who got it when he saw Skippy, the rufous female on nest with gem eggs posted in Sculpture. "You could do a whole series of these," he said.

I couldn't deny this quote from The Peregrine--

“The hardest thing of all to see is what is really there. Books about birds show pictures of the peregrine, and the text is full of information. Large and isolated in the gleaming whiteness of the page, the hawk stares back at you, bold, statuesque, brightly coloured. But when you have shut the book, you will never see that bird again. Compared with the close and static image, the reality will seem dull and disappointing. The living bird will never be so large, so shiny-bright. It will be deep in landscape, and always sinking farther back, always at the point of being lost. Pictures are waxworks beside the passionate mobility of the living bird.”

Of course you can see falconry birds up close. But still, a carving can't move or fly, and motion is indeed the essence of birds. Even a still-hunting raptor will move some, and its feathers will move with the breeze. I did plan to carve a few more complete raptors, hence the head studies. But I'd already left conventional bird carving behind, and there was no going back. There are lots of conventional bird carvers, most less talented than me, but quite a few far more talented. The top carvers are now so good that short of getting their work to get up and fly, it can't get any better. I just didn't see the point being just one more carver copying a bird.

Still, I got the highest possible compliment on this one when I posted it at WC, from a woman (forget her name) who was Secretary of the California Hawking Club. She herself flies two Harrises and said I'd really gotten it right.
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This is awesome. Love the pose of the bird, that turn of the head gives it character and makes it so realistic. I really love the shape of the perch too. Wow!
Thanks, Triduana. If I couldn't make them move, I could at least try to create the illusion of motion about to happen and a little tension. In addition to the turned head, he's slightly overbalanced to his left (it took a lot of tries to get this right) but his head is pulled a little back to his right, as though he's just reacted to seeing something. At the same time, his foot is tight on the right side and open on the left. So the overall impression I tried to create was that he's pulled back a bit in preparation for launching and going after whatever he's seen.

Two pics of him as a WIP...


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This is wonderful. You've really caught the moment of just before take-off.