During his visits to Farnley Hall, the Yorkshire home of his friend Walter Fawkes, Turner was drawn into the family's interest in ornithology. He contributed a group of twenty watercolour bird portraits to a series
of illustrative albums compiled for the library at Farnley. These contained documentation as well as examples
of the plumage of each species.
This study arises from a similar
interest in natural history. It is one of
a pair of studies in which Turner sought
to capture the motion of a bird as it
began or ended its flight.