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.