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Red Tailed Hawk

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Red-winged Blackbird bully Red-tailed Hawk

A fun little bit of action here. The Blackbirds had staked out a marshy area as their own and when the hawk decided to patrol overhead, the littler birds were not shy about chasing off the raptor. It was cool to watch as the Blackbirds chased and dived at the hawk.

I’ve seen small birds be aggressive in defending their homes against raptors, Kingbirds and Crows are infamous for this, but this was the first time I have seen Red-winged Blackbirds do it.

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk is chased by Red-winged Blackbirds. (© Tony’s Takes)

Leucistic Red-tailed Hawk makes for a fun find

Red-tailed Hawks are quite common but not the ones of this variety. I have seen this particular one hanging out along a back-country road northeast of my home a few times but have never had much luck getting a picture. Recently though, the raptor was kind enough to sit still just long enough for me to snap this capture.

Leucism is a genetic mutation that prevents pigments from being properly embedded in feathers thus resulting in lighter than normal coloring. I’ve seen pictures of other hawks with the condition that were far whiter than this one.

A slightly leucistic Red-tailed Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A slightly leucistic Red-tailed Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk makes off with a meal

A very fun encounter with this raptor recently. Driving down a dirt road I see this Red-tailed Hawk dive down from a pole and clearly grab something. I come to a stop and it soon takes off with a mouse firmly in its talons. It circled around giving me a great flyby showing its meal then moved to a second and then a third pole before devouring its meal whole. Taken in Weld County, Colorado.

With its breakfast firmly in its talons, a Red-tailed Hawk takes flight in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

With its breakfast firmly in its talons, a Red-tailed Hawk takes flight in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk stands guard

The soft light of the rising sun and the dramatic fall skies in the background really make this one a personal favorite. This is Karma, a captive bird, used for falconry and education. When my son and I had the opportunity to photograph it at an organized photoshoot last year, we jumped at the chance. It was quite a show and allowed us to get up close and personal with this hawk.

Found across all of North America, Red-tailed Hawks are probably the most common hawk you will see. They are oftentimes perched on poles in rural areas but have adapted well to suburban and urban settings as well.

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A Red-tailed Hawk keeps watch from its perch in Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk keeps watch from its perch in Denver, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Gorgeous young Red-tailed Hawk

These hawks are very common on the Great Plains and, honestly, a lot of times I don’t give them a second look. However, when I saw this light morph juvenile I felt compelled to take its picture. It was beautifully colored and tolerated my presence. Unfortunately I blew the ‘launch shot’ but got some nice pics of it sitting, even if on a pole.

A light morph Red Tailed Hawk keeps watch.  This could be a Krider's Hawk.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A light morph Red Tailed Hawk keeps watch. This could be a Krider’s Hawk. (© Tony’s Takes)

A light morph Red Tailed Hawk keeps watch.  This could be a Krider's Hawk.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A light morph Red Tailed Hawk keeps watch. This could be a Krider’s Hawk. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Red-tailed Hawk spreads its wings

As I continue sorting through pics from the past year, I come across some cool ones that I haven’t shared before. This is one from back in April and taken near Denver International Airport. The young raptor was keeping close watch over a field, looking for a meal.

Found across all of North America, Red Tailed Hawks are probably the most common hawk you will see. They are oftentimes perched on poles in rural areas but have adapted well to suburban and urban settings as well.

A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk spreads its wings.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Red-tailed Hawk spreads its wings. (© Tony’s Takes)

Chow time on the Great Plains

However gruesome it might be, scenes like this are played out routinely in Mother Nature. The relationship between predator and prey is a life-sustaining action and necessary to maintain diversity in the ecosystem. While one life ends, another continues and is renewed. Taken back in January, these images show a Red-tailed Hawk as it devours a rabbit that it had killed in a field.

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk devours a rabbit on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk caught off guard by strong winds

A rather dramatic image of this raptor as it banks hard right. I saw this hawk perched on the plains and stopped to snap its picture. It had other plans however and immediately launched into the air, seemingly unaware of the strong east winds that were blowing. As it pushed off the ground and extended its wings, the wind turned those wings into sails and seemed to almost cause the hawk to flip over. It did recover but did not look particularly graceful in the process.

Pushed by the wind, a Red-tailed Hawk flies sideways after launch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Pushed by the wind, a Red-tailed Hawk flies sideways after launch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawks make some noise

I was actually looking for owls when I came across this pair of raptors. There was no nest in sight but they sure did not seem to appreciate me being around so I snapped some quick pics and retreated. Skies were overcast so not the prettiest of backgrounds but the birds themselves looked gorgeous. Taken in Thornton, Colorado.

A Red-tailed Hawk screeches as it flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk screeches as it flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk flies overhead. (© Tony’s Takes)

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