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Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk takes flight

A fun capture of this very cool raptor taken this past weekend. These hawks arrive in Colorado in great numbers in the spring, seemingly outnumbering the year-round Red-tailed Hawk we often see. The Swainson’s mate and fledge their young here then head to South America for the winters. They will begin that journey here very soon.

A Swainson's Hawk takes to the skies in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk takes to the skies in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk grabs some nesting material

This gorgeous raptor was in a field right next to the road yesterday. At first, I assumed it had a kill it was guarding as it was surprisingly reluctant to leave when I stopped.

Instead, it turns out it simply wanted to grab a stick to add to its nest. Interestingly enough, it flew not far away and added it to a nest on a power pole.  Few hawks choose power poles for nests, instead preferring trees, and I have never seen a Swainson in a man-made spot.

These beautiful raptors are found across the American West during the summer months. They arrive in such numbers that they become almost more common than the ubiquitous Red Tailed Hawk. It is here that they will mate and have young before heading south to Argentina for the winter.

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson's Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk works to pick up a stick for its nest. (© Tony’s Takes)

First Argentinian visitor of the season

Last week I posted a picture of one of these cool raptors from last year saying that I expected to see them soon this season on the Colorado plains. That turned out to be true as yesterday I came across this gorgeous dark morph Swainson’s Hawk.

It was perched on a utility pole and judging from the size of its crop, it had just eaten. As such, it was in no rush to move and allowed me to get some close ups of it. I reckon too after its ridiculously long migration from Argentina, it was just looking to rest up and take a break. 😉

Close up image of a dark morph Swainson's Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Close up image of a dark morph Swainson’s Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Close up image of a dark morph Swainson's Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Close up image of a dark morph Swainson’s Hawk in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawks poised to return to the Centennial State

One of my favorite seasonal visitors. I had hoped to spot the first of the season this past weekend but had no such luck. However, it won’t be long till I see them. This particular one is one I captured an image of last spring.

These beautiful raptors are found across the American West during the summer months. They arrive in such numbers that they become almost more common than the ubiquitous Red Tailed Hawk. It is here that they will mate and have young before heading south to Argentina for the winter, one of the longest migrations of any raptor.

A Swainson's Hawk keeps close watch while perched on a fence on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk keeps close watch while perched on a fence on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Prepped for launch

Having just finished its meal, this Swainson’s Hawk is ready to fly. I was too late to catch the eating action and had to settle for this shot. You can see it is wearing some of the leftovers on its beak. Probably needs to use a napkin next time. 😉

A Swainson's Hawk prepares for lunch from a pole.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk prepares for lunch from a pole. (© Tony’s Takes)

Neck rubs are good but also convenient when you can do it yourself

Neck rubs are good but also convenient when you can do it yourself. 😉

This Swainson’s Hawk was displaying its flexibility and the perks that it brings as it pulled its head back against its shoulders and gave itself a bit of a massage. Given what almost appears to be a smile on its face, it appears to enjoy it.

The hawk and its mate were hanging out on a very gloomy day last week and both spent an inordinate amount of time preening themselves. I waited for 20 minutes figuring they would do something different but they never did. Clearly they are two of the cleanest raptors on the Great Plains.

A Swainson's Hawk stretches backwards to scratch its neck and shoulders.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk stretches backwards to scratch its neck and shoulders. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk in flight

A gorgeous raptor and some power blue Colorado skies make for a very nice morning! These summertime visitors from far south are starting to make their homes on the Great Plains and are quite active right now. I saw multiple pairs this past weekend within a few miles of each other. Here, one of them was kind enough to oblige me with a very nice flyby.

A Swainson's Hawk flies across the pale blue skies of the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk flies across the pale blue skies of the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Return of the Argentinians

Yesterday I had my first sighting of these summer-time residents this season. This female Swainson’s Hawk was hanging out alongside a busy road north of Denver International Airport.

These beautiful raptors are found across the American West during the summer months. They arrive in such numbers that they become almost more common than the ubiquitous Red Tailed Hawk. It is here that they will mate and have young before heading south to Argentina for the winter.

A female Swainson's Hawk shows off soon after arriving for the season on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk shows off soon after arriving for the season on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk keeps watch

This beautiful lady was watching the happenings around her closely, no doubt hoping to find some hapless rodent she could snatch up for a meal. It won’t be long now and her and her family will be heading south to their winter home in Argentina. It certainly will be warmer there than the Colorado plains come December and January. 😉

A female Swainson's Hawk keeps watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk keeps watch in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Swainson’s Hawk poses for pictures

I went for a quick photo drive after work Thursday and only found one photo worthy subject. It however was a very handsome juvenile Swainson’s Hawk. These young ones have some very cool coloring and just have an extraordinary look to them. It will be growing fast as it gets ready for its long migration to Argentina for the winter.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk keeps watch from a utility pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk keeps watch from a utility pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)