Prey

Leila Jeffreys 'Prey' series was exhibited at Purdy Hicks London and Olsen Gallery Sydney. Each large scale photograph features a portrait of bird of prey

'Fenrick' Black Kite

'Fenrick' Black Kite

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Photograph on archival fibre based cotton rag paper
112 x 89 cm, 44 x 35 inch (standard)

'Fenrick’ Black Kite 2014 ©Leila Jeffreys

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Meeting a Black Kite up close is quite extraordinary: they are beautiful birds! Fenrick is nine years old and so his feathers are fully matured and at their most striking. I couldn’t believe the thin, dramatic black feathers woven into his coat like a tapestry … the effect was so delicate, it looked like he was an illustration.

I observed the lovely dark brown feathers around his eye, looking like a pair of sunglasses he never loses. This luscious band is a result of evolution, an adaptation to stop the sun reflecting into his eye when he is gliding on thermals as he searches for food. You might have seen American footballers with black paint under their eyes: Black Kites thought of it first.

Black Kites are opportunistic hunters and are more likely to scavenge by eating carrion which means they help clean up any rotting meat that can cause the spread of disease.

If you make your way to Eagle Heritage in Margaret River, Western Australia, you can watch a magnificent daily flight show with Black Kites diving and ducking in front of you. It’s truly a thing of beauty.

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