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Red Tailed Hawk

The intense focus of a raptor

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.

Closeup of a Red-tailed Hawk as it stares.  (© Tony’s Takes)

Closeup of a Red-tailed Hawk as it stares. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk focuses on the landing

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.

A Red-tailed Hawk focuses on landing in the early morning light. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk focuses on landing in the early morning light. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors

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 Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk among the fall colors. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk tries to make a meal out of a Jackrabbit

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.

A Red-tailed Hawk dives toward a Jackrabbit.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dives toward a Jackrabbit. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-Tailed Hawk dines on Meadowlark

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.

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk dines on a Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk takes flight with its meal of Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk takes flight with its meal of Western Meadowlark on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red-tailed Hawk dines on rabbit

I am sitting here this evening gathering up photos for my annual calendars (and other secret – for now – project). Going through the past year of images I find lots of cool ones, some of which I never shared including this one.

I happened across this raptor dining on the remnants of a bunny in rural Adams County, Colorado in November of last year. It was very intent on finishing it meal, photographer or not, and devoured every last piece of meat it could. A bit gross perhaps but a good example of predator and prey and what goes on every day around us.

A Red-tailed Hawk finishes off its meal on the plains of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-tailed Hawk finishes off its meal on the plains of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Tailed Hawk has eyes for the photographer

This raptor was patrolling the skies on Saturday and made a number of circles almost directly above me. Unfortunately it was toward the sun a bit which meant some heavy backlighting, Nevertheless, it is a fun image with the hawk staring down right at me and its wings illuminated from the sun behind it.

Taken in Jefferson County, Colorado.

A Red-Tailed Hawk looks down at the photographer in Jefferson County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red-Tailed Hawk looks down at the photographer in Jefferson County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wide-eyed Red Tail

Normally these hawks are camera shy and not willing to sit and pose for pictures. This one however in Adams County, Colorado a couple of days ago didn’t seem to mind the attention. In fact, it seemed pretty enthralled with it and curious as to why I even bothered to stop.

A Red Tailed Hawk in Adams County, Colorado keeps close watch on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk in Adams County, Colorado keeps close watch on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Curious juvenile Red-Tailed Hawk

This young one has become a fixture out at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge over the winter. Always willing to pose and always in the same general area. It is absolutely gorgeous and an uncommon light morph variety helping to make it a job to photograph.

A young Red-Tailed Hawk poses at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Red-Tailed Hawk poses at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. (© Tony’s Takes)

Food fight!

Certainly not a great quality image due to the distance but a fun one nevertheless. Although there weren’t a lot of them, the Bald Eagles at Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado were quite active.

This gorgeous one had caught itself a nice sized fish and was desperately trying to find someplace quiet to enjoy its breakfast. A Red Tailed Hawk decided it wanted to share though and gave pursuit. I watched the pair tussle in the air with the smaller raptor trying to snag the fish.

It was ultimately unsuccessful and the eagle headed of to eat alone.

A Red Tailed Hawk attempts to steal a fish from a Bald Eagle in midair.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk attempts to steal a fish from a Bald Eagle in midair. (© Tony’s Takes)