Certainly I have seen my share of bad behavior at the refuge by visitors and it appears the managers are taking it seriously. This new guard was ensuring the regulations about where you are allowed to go were adhered to closely. Swainson’s hawks are only here for the summer though so I assume this is only a temporary hire.
Can you hear me now?
This Swainson’s hawk was very vocal and did not seem to approve of having its picture taken recently.
These summertime visitors to Colorado appear in great numbers in the spring as they arrive for mating season. In late summer, they will begin their journey to their winter homes in South America.
As this image shows, they are quite vocal, sounding off to voice their displeasure. Their call is in many ways the quintessential sound you imagine when you think of a hawk screeching.
Have a great weekend, everyone, and make some noise! 😉
A little bird with a ton of attitude!
Western kingbirds are notorious for their aggressiveness toward much bigger raptors. These bullies will take on any hawk or eagle that they feel is intruding on their space and this one, clearly, was not happy with the hawk’s presence.
The hawk was perched on a pole, enjoying a calm morning on the Great Plains when the kingbird decided to attack. After making multiple dives at the perched hawk, the hawk decided it had enough and departed. That wasn’t good enough for the kingbird who gave pursuit, raising a ruckus and taking swipes at the Swainson.
I’ve seen kingbirds do this to other hawks and even much larger bald eagles, they simply have no fear.
Having just completed an incredible migration from Argentina, this gorgeous hawk wasn’t too tired to use its wings to give me a bit of a show. It gave me some nice poses as it sat in this tree and then got bored with me and decided to move on.
More and more of these raptors are arriving on the Colorado plains where they will create their summer homes, mate, and fledge young. Come the fall, they will make the long journey back to South America. Some years, at the height of summer, I will spot more of these than even the year-round red-tailed hawks that we routinely see.
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.