Winter means raptors on the plains of Colorado and their numbers have been steadily increasing over the last few weeks. Among the highlights, for me, are these cool hawks. While some stay here year-round, they are most common during the colder months. I absolutely love their look and they are usually relatively cooperative when it comes to taking pictures.
This particular one was flying low over a prairie dog colony recently, no doubt on the lookout for a meal. It gave me a nice flyby and this particular shot gives it a bit of menacing appearance, in part due to its closed inner eyelid. Many birds have what is called a nictitating membrane. This membrane wipes front to back every few seconds, cleaning the cornea. It is translucent and the hawk can actually see through it.