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Swainson’s Hawk

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)

Mama keeping her eggs warm

This female Swainson’s Hawk was hunkered down in her nest north of Denver International Airport yesterday. Presumably she has a clutch of eggs underneath her. Dad wasn’t around so he was probably out hunting. ?

A female Swainson's Hawk sits on the eggs in her nest in Adams County, Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Swainson’s Hawk sits on the eggs in her nest in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Rocky Mountain Swainson’s Hawks

A pair of Swainson's Hawk sits in a tree with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

A pair of Swainson’s Hawk sits in a tree with the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background. (© Tony’s Takes)

With the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the background, two Swainson Hawk lovebirds hang out.  This gorgeous pair is setting up a summer home here on the #Colorado plains.  No eggs yet although I did see them trying today.  😉  In between the action they put themselves in a great position for this picture with our peaks behind.

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)