Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk from the north side of the Centennial Valley, Montana

/, Beaverhead County, Centennial Valley, Montana, Red-tailed Hawks/Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk from the north side of the Centennial Valley, Montana

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched on an old fence railJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched on an old fence rail – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 400, -03 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

On my mid-July journey to southwestern Montana it seemed like there were juvenile hawks every where I looked, the east and west side of the Centennial Valley and the south and north sides too. Although I did see and photograph juvenile Swainson’s Hawks, it was the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) juveniles that seemed to be the most abundant during the entire trip. Red-tailed Hawks hunt by perching on posts, fences and elevated perches and by kiting. It is fun to watch the juveniles looking for prey on the ground, diving for the prey and waiting to see if they caught or missed it.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Beaverhead County, MontanaJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk, Beaverhead County, Montana – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 400, -03 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

When we first came across this juvenile it was perched with another juvie on the top rail of an old fence. Not long after getting there this juvenile Red-tailed dove towards the ground very close to the fence and came back up onto the rails with empty talons. For about 15 minutes the young hawk stayed on the rail looking around for more prey and then it lifted off (back to me of course!) to perch on a post that was further away from the road. On the way back the young Buteo was still on the pole so I wasn’t able to get any more images that were closer than these.

Mia

18 Comments

  1. Merrill Ann Gonzales August 1, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    I’ll never forget the time I witnessed a mating display in the air… It was startling as well as ear-splitting.

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 6:19 pm

      Red-tailed Hawks can be very loud!

  2. Merrill Ann Gonzales August 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    We have a large population of red-tails in our area. It seems one is always flying over my head. I love the way you got the feathering in the first photo… and the second was telling in its motion. Very nice.

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 6:18 pm

      Merrill, Red-tails are such great birds, I love it when they fly overhead. Thanks for commenting

  3. Earl July 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Great shots,

  4. kim July 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    I love my daily visit to your site Mia – thank you for sharing your thoughts and images.

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 6:16 pm

      Thank you Kim, I love that you visit often.

  5. Carol Mattingly July 31, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I love your hawk images. I’m not the best bird photographer, but hopefully when I purchase a new lens soon I’ll give it a more serious try. Carol

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

      Carol, you’ll work at bird photography and get addicted, I sure did! Thanks for commenting.

  6. Stu July 31, 2012 at 4:45 pm

    Great photos Mia. Hawks always look like they are ‘on a mission’ 😉

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

      Stu, hawks always look so serious to me, unlike Burrowing Owls who can quite often appear clownish! Thanks for commenting.

  7. Linda Rockwell July 31, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Lovely photos as usual Mia! Love the feather detail.

  8. Bob Zeller July 31, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Great shots, Mia. I never get enough of the red-tails. Fun to watch and extra fun to photograph.

    • Mia McPherson August 1, 2012 at 5:58 pm

      Thank you Bob, I never get enough of Red-tailed Hawks either.

  9. Julie Brown July 31, 2012 at 12:16 pm

    Nice eye contact and the side pose allows us to see the streaked breast and feather detail.

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