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Ferruginous Hawk

I do not like Mondays!

A Ferruginous Hawk shows its disdain for the start of the workweek, a sentiment many of us likely would agree with. 😉

This image was actually taken a few months ago north of Denver International Airport. I came across this raptor perched on a pole and it did not appear to care too much for my presence. I love the look on its face and the blood on its head clearly indicates it had just finished a meal.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk looks rather displeased while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk looks rather displeased while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk puts on an airshow

The amazing coloring and plumage of this raptor is really highlighted when against clear, blue skies. Fresh snow cover on the ground helped to reflect the sun from below and illuminate the underside as it took flight over me.

I was observing the hawk and managed a series of captures as it took flight, this being one of them. I just love everything about these hawks – their plumage, their ‘joker’ smile, and of course those talons.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk keeps watch in the early morning sun

The face on these large raptors has so much character it is little wonder I am drawn to them. Their profile is so noble and in many ways intimidating. Throw in their ‘joker’ smile and they are very cool indeed.

This particular one was perched on a utility near Denver International Airport yesterday morning, keeping close watch on the ground for an opportunity to get a meal.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk looks toward the morning sun. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk looks toward the morning sun. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight in the snow

I cannot sing the praises of these gorgeous raptors enough. They are my favorite hawks and absolutely beautiful, especially when in flight and viewed from underneath. Those pristine white feathers and the distinctive ‘joker’ smile are captivating to me.

This particular Ferruginous was keeping watch on a snowy afternoon last week. After letting me get my fill of images of it posing, it took flight directly overhead. With its wings spread to their full four foot span, it never once took its eyes off of me, seemingly staring right into the camera. Large snowflakes can be seen falling from the sky as well. A nice image of a beautiful bird.

A Ferruginous Hawk showcases its impressive wingspan as it takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk showcases its impressive wingspan as it takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk poses with the moon

Kind of a fun couple of images although I do wish the moon had come out sharper. By mid-morning this past Sunday when this image was taken there was a good bit of haze though.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

This one has chosen a utility pole for a perch, but you are more likely to find them on the ground standing over a rodent’s hole waiting for an unsuspecting victim to stick its head out.

You can read more about them here.

A Ferruginous Hawk poses with the moon serving as a backdrop. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk poses with the moon serving as a backdrop. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk poses with the moon serving as a backdrop. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk poses with the moon serving as a backdrop. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk provides perfect flyby

Many of you are aware that this particular type of raptor has been a ‘white whale’ of sorts for me. Ferruginous Hawks are common this time of year in Colorado but the dark morph variety is relatively rare and my best attempts at getting quality pictures have always been foiled.

It was very frustrating to say the least but last week I finally got the pictures I had been craving. I came across this beautiful hawk northeast of Denver, Colorado one afternoon and unlike it times past, it tolerated my presence.

After posing for some pictures, it then launched into the air and gave me a fantastic flyby. Perhaps it was its early Christmas present to me or maybe it just finally took pity on me. Either way, I could not be happier. Scroll down to view the complete series.

A somewhat rare Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk performs a picture perfect flyby. (© Tony’s Takes)

A somewhat rare Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk performs a picture perfect flyby. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk looks into the late afternoon sun

Ferruginous Hawks are pretty common on the plains of Colorado this time of year. The dark morph version of the species is quite rare compared to their lighter colored cousins.

This season however there do seem to be a few of the dark morphs hanging out northeast of Denver although that has not necessarily translated into making them easy to get pictures of. They tend to be a bit skittish and when I have found them, lighting has been less than ideal or I just flat out screw up the picture.

Earlier this month I came upon this one as it took a break on top of a utility pole and managed a decent capture. From the looks of the blood on its beak, it clearly had just finished eating. The sun glinting in its eye and the gorgeous blue skies make for a pretty decent image although I of course wish for a more natural perch than this.

A Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk keeps watch on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Dark Morph Ferruginous Hawk keeps watch on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

“I’m keeping my eye on you”

When I snapped this image yesterday, I had a feeling it was a good one and I have to say, this has got to be on of my favorites images of these hawks that I have taken. The sun was behind the hawk but its flight was at just the right angle to allow the sunlight to run up its chest and really light up its face and eye.

With a wingspan of 4 to 5 feet, these are the largest buteos in North America. When seen from a distance perched on a pole, they are oftentimes mistaken for an eagle.

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight while keeping a very close watch on the shutterbug.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight while keeping a very close watch on the shutterbug. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight

This gorgeous raptor was sitting among a prairie dog colony yesterday, waiting for one of the little rodents to pop its head up. I was hopping to get pics of it snagging one but a big truck came by and it took flight.

While the action is very cool, I am disappointed in the quality. I was having some issues with my gear at various points yesterday so these aren’t as sharp as they should be. Hopefully the problems were just a transient error and nothing more significant. ?

Scroll down to view the complete sequence.

A Ferruginous Hawk launches into the air in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk launches into the air in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk makes close flyby

This one caught me a bit off guard.  My son and I were taking a bit of a photo drive yesterday afternoon when we spotted this Ferruginous Hawk sitting in a field.  We stopped, got out, and walked closer for a better view.

Before getting anywhere near, it took off.  Initially we were disappointed but to our surprise, rather than heading in the opposite direction, it flew right toward us.  I scrambled to get my camera up to my eye and focus it, managing to get off a few captures before it was gone.  Had to shoot toward the sun but that was mitigated a bit by the fact it was so close.

These hawks are quite large – oftentimes being mistaken for eagles when in the air – and become pretty common during the winter months here in Colorado.  Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

A Ferruginous Hawk performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk performs a flyby in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)