I never draw out of my head, just can't do it. This pitiful bird drawing, which looks a lot like a stuffed penguin with an elongated tail, or maybe a fat dove with a strange red tail, is a drawing that I made from memory of an astonishing giant bird that I saw today while walking in downtown Asheville enroute Whole Foods from the Y. This bird must have been 18" from head to tail. It zoomed in like a low-flying plane right overhead and landed heavily on a telephone wire very close to where I was standing with my mouth hanging open. Two small birds were flying near it, but when it landed they took off. I dug in my bag for a pen but worst luck-- no paper at all to draw on. I stood there memorizing the shape of the bird. It was silhouetted against a bright overcast sky, so it looked dark gray but with white belly. After a few minutes it took off, and I saw its reddish brown tail. The tail was blunt and not tapered or swallowtaily. I saw the bird dive down between a house across the street and a garage, but I couldn't see what was going on.
I looked up giant gray-black raptors with reddish tails in NC on my phone right away, and I think this thing was a red-tailed hawk. When I got home I painted from memory the painting on the other page (as well as the flying version, which was so surprising with that bright red tail). Then I copied a red-tailed hawk from the web page, only I adjusted the illustration to reflect what I actually saw. According to the page the grey-black top part can have white spots and streaks, but I didn't see any. I hadn't even noticed the yellow feet and beak, but I believe that was what color they were. At any rate, there was no other raptor on the web page that remotely looked like the bird I saw. The real identifying feature for me was the red top side of the tail.
The little orangey moons are some that I carved earlier today for an book that I'm working on.