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Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk launches, keeps close eye on the photographer

I haven’t really gotten my usual fill of pictures of these summertime residents of Colorado. The last couple of weekends though gave me a few opportunities, including some captures of this beautiful female. She was perched on a fence post in rural Morgan County and tolerated me – but only briefly. I managed a few quick captures as she took flight.

A female Swainson's Hawk takes flight in Morgan County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk takes flight in Morgan County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Swainson’s Hawk poses for pictures

When I first spotted this raptor yesterday in Morgan County, Colorado, I wasn’t entirely sure what it was. Certainly it was the size of a hawk but the light coloring threw me off a bit. I have seen juvenile Swainson’s Hawks before, but never one of the light morph variety like this one. It was kind of fun to find something a bit different. He / she was definitely beautiful.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk keeps watch on the Colorado plains.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk keeps watch on the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk weathers Colorado’s spring snowstorm

Taken last weekend as the Centennial State was getting pounded by a significant storm. This poor hawk was undoubtedly wishing it had stayed in Argentina for a couple more weeks. It was perched in a tree northeast of Denver and had ice on its head, chest and tail feathers. No doubt it wasn’t much fun for the creature.

A Swainson's Hawk weather a spring snowstorm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk weather a spring snowstorm in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk stretches out after a long flight

Having just arrived from Argentina, this gorgeous raptor was likely a bit tired. Okay, it actually arrived a week or two ago but that is a long flight and you sure would think it would take a while to recover. 😉

On my quick drive yesterday I came across this Swainson’s on a pole and like many of its species, was completely tolerant of me. In fact, it seemed pretty bemused with and even a little bit bored by my interest in it, largely ignoring me. Here it stretches and gives me a very cool pose. Take note of those talons. Very impressive!

A Swainson's Hawk stretches while perched on a pole. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk stretches while perched on a pole. (© Tony’s Takes)

The Argentinians return

Swainson’s Hawks have one of the longest known migrations of any raptor. After wintering in Argentina, they spend their summers on the Great Plains where they mate before heading south again.

On Friday I saw my first Swainson’s of the season and she was not a very pleasant one. In fact, she was dive-bombing a Great Horned Owl nest which of course made the female owl very upset as her little ones had just hatched. Unfortunately I failed to capture the hawk and the nest in the same frame of any of my pictures. 🙁

In this series though, you can see the hawk swoop in and take a swipe at the nest below.  Scroll down to view the entire sequence.

Taken in Thornton, Colorado.

A Swainson's Hawk extends its legs and prepares to take a swipe at a Great Horned Owl nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk extends its legs and prepares to take a swipe at a Great Horned Owl nest in Thornton, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young hawk’s beauty pass photobombed by sibling

I was recently taking pictures of a gorgeous juvenile Swainson’s Hawk that was taking advantage of some strong winds.  It was gliding effortlessly with no need to flap its wings thanks to the breeze.  As I was clicking the shutter I notice something out of the corner of my eye – the young one’s sibling!

It would appear there was a bit of a sibling rivalry going on for mine and my camera’s attention with the newcomer seemingly wanting to have its picture taken as well.  😉

A pair of juvenile Swainson's Hawks float easily on strong winds. (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of juvenile Swainson’s Hawks float easily on strong winds. (© Tony’s Takes)

Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk performs a perfect flyover

These young hawks are among my favorite #raptors. Swainson’s are normally quite tolerant of people and the juveniles have some of the most gorgeous plumage of any bird. The nearby family had been a bit scarce this year and when I have seen them this summer, I didn’t have time to stop. Today that finally changed and I stopped for a visit. One of the two siblings gave me a very nice show. Taken in Thornton, Colorado.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk performs a perfect flyover. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk performs a perfect flyover. (© Tony’s Takes)

Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk gets vocal

This young Swainson’s was recently perched on a utility pole and was pretty vocal about the fact it didn’t care to have my truck parked underneath its perch.

The number of Swainson’s Hawks in eastern Colorado swells during the spring and summer months as they arrive for mating. By mid to late summer, their offspring have fledged and are getting bigger and stronger by the day.

These juveniles have absolutely gorgeous plumage and, in my opinion, are some of the most handsome raptors you could see.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk makes a lot of noise.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk makes a lot of noise. (© Tony’s Takes)

Proud Swainson’s Hawk

I haven’t had much time to seek out raptors lately and when I have ventured out, my luck hasn’t been the best.  I did however recently come across this gorgeous Swainson’s Hawk keeping watch over a field.

A Swainson's Hawk stands proudly on a utility pole. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk stands proudly on a utility pole. (© Tony’s Takes)

Posing female Swainson’s Hawk

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. Most of the females are now sitting on nests with eggs.

This particular one however has apparently not successfully mated yet although there was a male nearby and they undoubtedly are trying. Taken in Adams County, Colorado. For more about these birds, see here.

A female Swainson's Hawk keeps watch from a utility pole.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk keeps watch from a utility pole. (© Tony’s Takes)