Avian Art Lovers

January 26, 2015
A pair of red-tailed hawks perched on the “catwalk” above the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies’ paper conservation lab.

Working behind the glass walls that separate the Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies from public areas in the new Harvard Art Museums, our conservators have gotten used to visitors stopping by to watch them work. But recently they were surprised to have an audience from above as well.

Since early November, a pair of hawks has been spending time on the east side of the museums’ glass roof, on the “catwalk” overlooking the Straus Center’s paper conservation lab. Conservators have identified the birds as red-tailed hawks, which are common throughout North America.

The hawks visit only on sunny days, perhaps drawn by the promise of a clear view of the Harvard campus and surrounding region, as well as the radiant heat atop the building. Staff say the birds often spend hours perched on the roof, sleeping, preening their feathers, and of course, observing the museums staff in their natural habitat. Enjoy the pictures above, taken by conservation technician Barbara Owens.

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