Prey - exhibited 2014

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

'Trinity' Brown goshawk

'Trinity' Brown goshawk


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

'Trinity' Brown goshawk 2014 ©Leila Jeffreys

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When I first met Trinity she was not quite 12 months old. She came into care with Paul from Broadwings after losing her home. When the government decides to allow developers to clear bushland for housing, a spotter catcher is called in an attempt to catch and remove animals before the bush is cleared. Trinity was just a little chick in a nest with her brother and unfortunately she was not spotted.

During the clearing process, the nest fell and she and her brother sustained injuries but were fortunately found. Her brother had a broken leg that became infected and sadly was put down as he was too sick to survive. Trinity, however, did get better;  and after learning of her difficult start in life I felt enormous respect for this tough little lady.

The first time I photographed her she was wearing little love heart patterns on her chest; a year later she had changed into stripes. I can’t believe how much the feather patterns can change and realise this is why it can be so hard to identify birds of prey.

Every time I met Trinity she was a confident bird and comfortable in front of the camera, and I enjoyed getting to know her and watch her grow over the course of a year.

Brown Goshawks feed on small mammals, with rabbits a popular choice. Rabbits cause a great deal of environmental damage to native vegetation (some plant species are now extinct because of them) and are largely responsible for the demise of the bilby and bandicoot which were once common Australian mammals.

Brown Goshawks like to build their nest on the tallest tree available which they line with fresh eucalypt leaves – they must be such lovely smelling homes! Couples will stay in the same area and often reuse the same nest year after year. The offspring eventually leave the nest and disperse widely, travelling up to 900km to establish their own breeding territory.