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Red Tailed Hawk

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)

Stretch and launch!

This raptor was hanging out on the mast of a sailboat at Union Reservoir in Longmont, Colorado yesterday. I managed a nice series of it sitting and then launching and taking flight. This one I like the best – kind of a unique pose. Red Tails are the most common hawks here in Colorado along the Front Range, so much so that I oftentimes just bypass them without even attempting to take a picture.

A Red Tailed Hawk stretches its wings and takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk stretches its wings and takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Tailed Hawk waits out the fog and frost

Chilly temperatures, frost and thick fog yesterday morning had activity on the plains at a standstill. Driving around, if something was more than 30 feet from my truck I wasn’t going to see it.

Wildlife as well was hampered by the conditions with raptors staying put on their perches, waiting for the weather to clear. As things finally started to break, I came across this hawk huddled up on an old, rusted out windmill. The muted colors caused by the drab conditions make this image work for me.

A Red Tailed Hawk waits for the fog to clear while roosted on an old windmill on a farm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk waits for the fog to clear while roosted on an old windmill on a farm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Red Tailed Hawk casts a curious look

As the most common hawk in my area, Red Tails are something I could probably photograph every day with little effort despite their notorious skittishness. Normally though I drive right by them as I don’t usually find them particularly handsome or compelling subjects unless they are doing something interesting.

This young one though caught my eye yesterday and I had to stop to visit with it. It was perched over a rural road and while fluffed up against cold temperatures and with the deep, blue Colorado sky behind it, it looked very cute.

As interested as I was in it, it seemed almost more so interested in me. It stared at me, canting its head at odd angles as if to try to figure out what I was doing. All the while, it was completely calm and never appeared threatened by me. Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

A young Red Tailed Hawk looks curiously at the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Red Tailed Hawk looks curiously at the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dive!

A young Red Tailed Hawk takes flight. Not sure if it was something I said or what but this raptor did not want its picture taken. Almost immediately after I got my camera up and pointed it decided it was time to fly.

A young Red Tailed Hawk takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

A young Red Tailed Hawk takes flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

Close up of a Red Tailed Hawk launch

Sometimes a mistake can actually turn out to make a good picture. Such was the case when I was photographing this young Red Tailed Hawk last week.

It was perched in a tree and posing quite nicely and calmly for me. I thought it might be getting to launch but figured I had time to get a nice close up of its head. That was not to be as it suddenly launched into the air leaving me with an image that cut off parts of its wings and tail.

Initially I was disappointed but after having download the image from my camera, I think I ended up with a pretty cool image. The raptor fills most of the frame and the intricate detail of its plumage are captured. In the end, I like it a lot.

A Red Tailed Hawk launches into the air. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Red Tailed Hawk launches into the air. (© Tony’s Takes)