From the smallest falcon to the biggest eagle, raptors are fierce and aggressive predators. Their weapon of choice, their talons, are able to put a vise-like grip on their prey, ripping and puncturing as they sink in. If you ever get a chance to see one up close, you can’t help but be struck by these meat hooks and when you do, you begin to appreciate the damage they can do.
Here’s one I forgot to post from last month. I usually skip right by Red-tailed Hawks as they are quite common and honestly, I just don’t think they usually are very pretty.
This one however, got my attention. It is a rufous-morph so it has much darker and prettier plumage than a normal Red-tail. That red and brown on its chest were very distinctive and this particular one seemed to know it was a cut above the rest of its more ‘normal’ cousins as it stood tall and proud.
If you see a hawk, there is a very good chance it is a Red-tail. They are likely the most common and can be found year-round across much of the contiguous United States.
“Who me? I know nothing about this rabbit that just happens to be lying here.” 😉
My son and I were out for a morning photo excursion yesterday when we spotted this handsome young Red Tailed Hawk standing on the ground out in the open. They rarely do that and we have learned that if they do, it is usually because they are guarding something. Sure enough, on closer inspection we see that it had managed to snag quite a nice-sized meal. We waited and waited hoping it would dig in but it simply sat there watching us, clearly not wanting to eat with an audience.
Unseasonably warm temperatures, golden light from sunrise and a very willing photo subject made for a perfect morning photo shoot on this day back at the end of October.
If you happen to spot a hawk in North America, there is a good chance it is one of these. They are found across much of the continent and are probably the most common. Typically you will see them perched on utility poles and fences or soaring on thermals keeping an eye out for a meal below.
This particular one is named Karma and is a captive bird used for falconry and education. She and some of her friends were part of a raptor photo shoot that my son and I participated in giving us the opportunity to get some pretty amazing captures.
This Red-tailed Hawk did not appreciate the two Magpies that were trying to steal its Prairie Dog meal. Certainly not a great picture as this happened way out in a field and I had to crop it considerably. Nevertheless, the interaction was fun to watch and the picture is a fun one. The hawk spread its wings and hovered over its meal alternating between taking bites and casting the evil eye toward the unwanted guests.
While raptors like this Red-tailed Hawk are certainly gorgeous, they are also ferocious predators. With the right look, they can look quite pretty but at the same time be downright intimidating as this pretty lady appears in this capture.
Karma is a captive bird, used for falconry and education. A few weeks ago I and my son got the opportunity to spend a lot of time photographing her and some other raptors up close and personal.
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.
This is probably my favorite image from a recent event I attended. Karma is a nine-year-old hawk that is used for falconry and educational purposes by Wild Wings Environmental Education. On this morning, just about everything came together perfectly for this shot – the golden light of the early morning sun, a dramatic sky in the background and of course the extraordinary subject. In the end, this is a capture that I am very proud of.
I happened across this nice looking raptor on Friday as it sat perched in a cottonwood tree. The golden leaves made for a nice scene although judging by the look on the hawk’s face, I am not so sure it appreciated having its picture taken. 😉
A fun series of images that I captured last Friday while out for a drive near Denver International Airport.
I was driving along and see a flurry of activity in a field and on closer inspection, I see a hawk and rabbit on the ground. The hawk took flight and circled back around, taking a dive at the rabbit. I flipped a quick u-turn and trained my camera on the action. Three times more the hawk dove at the rabbit.
This series captures the final attack pass. Surprisingly the rabbit never ran off, instead choosing to sit there and then jump and evade whenever the hawk got close. It must have worked though as the raptor soon gave up and flew off in search of an easier meal. In this case, the prey got the better of the predator.
Scroll down to view all the images in the sequence.
I don’t normally pay much attention to these raptors because they are quite common and generally I don’t find them particularly photogenic. However, because they are common, sometimes you can get them doing some pretty cool things.
Such was the case when I came across this one a couple of days ago. It was perched on a pole dining on what appeared to be a Western Meadowlark that it had caught.
I’ve seen Red-tails eat more terrestrial fare like prairie dogs, rabbits and snakes but this is the first time I have seen one eat another bird. After eating a bit and giving me a nasty stare, it decided it preferred someplace with more private dining accommodations and flew off.