Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk – From lift off to flight

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk about to lift offJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk about to lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, +0.3, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

I went out into the west desert of Utah this morning hoping to take images of the raptors I thought I would find there to do a post on but some days though the birds are few and those that you find just aren’t cooperative. It was that kind of day so I will post a series of images of a young Red-tailed hawk that I created in September.

This handsome juvenile Red-tailed Hawk had landed on these dark rocks before I started this series, in the frame above I could tell by the bird’s posture that lift off would most likely happen soon so I got ready. I have mentioned before that it pays to study and learn a subject’s behavior and because I do this series of images worked well because I had anticipated the bird’s next movements.

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile crouching before lift offRed-tailed Hawk juvenile crouching before lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, +0.3, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

This frame shows the immature hawk crouching down prior to lifting off.

Juvenile Red-tailed right after lift offJuvenile Red-tailed right after lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 640, +0.3, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

This image shows the Red-tailed juvie right after it leapt into the air.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk gaining altitudeJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk gaining altitude – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, +0.3, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

This frame shows the young hawk gaining altitude.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk in flightJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk in flight – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640, +0.3, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

I lost focus for two frames as the hawk started flying past the darks rocky outcropping in the background and then with this frame I locked on again.

I haven’t been seeing this juvenile Red-tailed in the same location of late and I hope that it decides to hunt in the area again, those dark rocks can make for dramatic backgrounds.

Have a great Saturday!

Mia

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and to pursue my passion for photographing birds.

14 Comments

  1. Wonderful series on this Red-tailed hawk Mia. Interesting to see the different color variations in these hawks.

  2. I meant #3 Mia, not #2.

  3. All of them are breathtaking, #2 is very nice with the curve of the wing and the mountain in the background.

  4. A beautiful series of a gorgeous young Red-tailed Hawk Mia! I love the crouch and lift off shots, those are the split second poses birders rarely get to relish.

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  6. I loved the rocks setting. They look like a massive series of mountains and of course the Hawk is a massive mythical bird to match that scale. I like hawks as they are always on a mission ;) No nonsense from them ;)

  7. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    What a marvelous bird… Most of the red-tails around here are darker… This one has such beautiful markings…a lot of white underside.

    • Thanks Merrill, we get a lot of variety in the Red-tailed Hawk colorations here, last week I photographed a dark juvenile Harlan’s, it was a gorgeous bird but just a bit too far away. I hope to get closer to it and take some images.

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