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Swainson’s Hawk

Swainson’s Hawk landing sequence

One of the reason’s I love these raptors is that they are quite tolerant of people and allow you to get some great pictures.

This particular female was with her mate in an area northeast of Denver last weekend.  As I took pictures of them sitting on posts, they took off and I thought perhaps I had scared them off.  In fact it turns out they must have just wanted to stretch their wings for a bit and soon returned landing right in front of me and allowing me to capture this sequence.

View the complete series below the main picture.

A female Swainson's Hawk flies fast and low as it prepares to land. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk flies fast and low as it prepares to land. (© Tony’s Takes)

Swainson’s Hawk flyby

Take one cool looking raptor and throw in our gorgeous, deep blue Colorado skies and just a hint of a whispy cloud and this is what you get.

This male Swainson’s Hawk is one of a pair that returned this past week to an open space not far from my home. I am happy to see they are back and I look forward to spending some more time with them in the coming weeks.

A male Swainson's Hawk performs a picture perfect flyby.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Swainson’s Hawk performs a picture perfect flyby. (© Tony’s Takes)

Friday flight: Swainson’s Hawk head on

I snapped this image yesterday north of Denver International Airport. This gorgeous raptor was hanging out on a pole when it decided to put on a bit of an aerial show making multiple passes over me.

Swainson’s have returned to Colorado over the last week or so following their winter in Argentina and will soon be mating and setting up their nests. They arrive here in great numbers and it seems to me that while in the area, they become the most common hawk seen, even outnumbering Red Tails.

A Swainson’s Hawk flies head on toward the camera, intently focused on the shutterbug.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Swainson’s Hawk flies head on toward the camera, intently focused on the shutterbug. (© Tony’s Takes)

Wind ruffles Swainson’s Hawk’s feathers

More and more of these Argentinians are showing up on Colorado’s plains.  Soon they will be picking nest sites and beginning their mating routine.

On Sunday I came across this male hanging out at the top of a tree, hanging on tightly in gusting 35mph winds.  Like most Swainson’s I have found, this one was quite indifferent to my presence only briefly glancing my way before returning his stare to the adjacent field.

A male Swainson's Hawk sits high in a tree while being buffeted by strong winds near Denver International Airport. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Swainson’s Hawk sits high in a tree while being buffeted by strong winds near Denver International Airport. (© Tony’s Takes)

 

Argentinians return to Colorado

I’ve been keeping an eye out for these gorgeous raptors and today spotted my first Swainson’s Hawks of the season. This male and female were hanging out a couple of poles away from each other in southern Weld County, Colorado.

During the spring and summer they can be found across much of the western half of North America but they winter in Argentina. Some of them will migrate 12,000 miles round trip!

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

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

A male Swainson's Hawk in Weld County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A male Swainson’s Hawk in Weld County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Southwest Airlines Jet Photobombs Hawk Picture

Captured an extraordinarily close mid-air collision today out by Front Range Airport just outside Denver, Colorado. Okay, maybe not. Not the greatest quality of picture but this Southwest Airlines plane intruding on my hawk flyby amused me.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk performs a flyby with a Southwest Airlines jet above.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk performs a flyby with a Southwest Airlines jet above. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Swainson’s Hawk launches into the air

I took a detour on the way home yesterday and drove around the hawk hot spots north of Denver International Airport and came across a couple of juvenile Swainson’s Hawks that were very cooperative. This one had just launched itself from the pole it was perched on and took off right over me. Lots of fun!

Scroll down below the main image for more pictures of the hawk and another that was nearby.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk launches itself into the air.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk launches itself into the air. (© Tony’s Takes)

Juvenile Swainson’s Hawk stare down

A short detour after work led me to an area near Denver International Airport and a Swainson’s Hawk nest that I have documented extensively in recent months. Three young ones came out of it and they have all fledged but one was still hanging around.

The juvenile seemed to think it could intimidate me and chase me off. 😉

They won’t be around for long as they will soon begin their long migration to Argentina where they spend winter.

Scroll down below the main image for more pictures of the hawk and another that was nearby.

A juvenile Swainson's Hawk stares at the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

A juvenile Swainson’s Hawk stares at the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Young Swainson’s Hawks hang out in the nest

Argentinian triplets in Colorado. After work I swung by a local Swainson’s Hawk nest for the first time in a couple weeks to check on the little ones.

They are getting big quickly and it would appear the strongest one is very close to fledging since it was up and out of the nest.

Swainson’s migrate to Colorado and much of the western half of the United States in the summer. Winters are spent in Argentina – what could be up to a 12,000 mile round trip!

Swainson's Hawk eyasses hang out in and near the nest. © Tony’s Takes

Swainson’s Hawk eyasses hang out in and near the nest. © Tony’s Takes