Oh how I love these types of birds. I previously shared my top shots of bald eagles and owls, now we look at some images of other types of eagles, hawks and falcons. Raptors are extraordinary creatures, ferocious predators but also quite beautiful and widely varied. From the tiny American kestrel to the monstrous golden eagle, all hold a special fascination for me and are quite often the focus of my images. Here’s a look back at my favorite captures of these creatures of the sky from my 2020 photo year.
I thought my photo excursion was done for the day when I happened across these two. Mom had caught a prairie dog and was feeding it to her recently fledged young one.
Of course they stopped eating when I arrived but it was still a pretty cool scene. It won’t be long and these two will begin their long, long migration to Argentina for the winter.
This was taken with my new Canon R5 and I have to say, I continue to be quite impressed with it. The extraordinary high resolution really brings out the details. In this shot, notice the wood of the pole and the birds’ feathers. Just perfect!
I figured it was a matter of days before I spotted my first Swainson’s hawk and sure enough, I did this past weekend. This handsome one was staking out a pretty common spot for them at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
These guys have one of the longest migrations of any animal, coming all the way from Argentina to the western United States for mating season. In the summer here in Colorado, it almost seems like their numbers are greater than the more common, year-round resident red tail hawk.
I’m sure I will get many more pictures of them this summer, hopefully ones that are more active than this one. I reckon it was resting after a 6,000 mile commute.
Being a new parent is a struggle. Sleep is a rarity and it is just a lot of work. It certainly appeared its new role as a father was taking a toll on this handsome fellow. Despite it being early in the morning when they would be most active, this guy was having a hard time keeping his eyes open and seemed to be trying to catch a quick nap.
The return of the Argentinians!
I knew these gorgeous raptors would be returning to the Colorado plains soon but I hadn’t had a chance to venture out to find them. Today I finally did and I saw quite a lot of them. Two, in particular, put on a fantastic air show for me as they worked on a nest northeast of Denver.
During the summer, their numbers will swell here to where I seem to see more of them than the more common red-tailed hawk. The winter will find them in the much warmer environs of Argentina after one of the longest migrations known.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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. 😉