Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed juvenile lifting offRed-tailed juvenile lifting off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

One of the nice things about cruddy weather is that I get the chance to edit some of the images that are languishing in my files that I have taken but not gotten around to processing. Here are a few of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk photographed in August on Antelope Island State Park.

I caught the juvenile Red-tailed with its feet still on the perch and its wings lifting.

Red-tailed Hawk right after lifting offRed-tailed Hawk right after lifting off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This is the next frame, the young hawk has left the perch and its wings are in a fully raised position.

Red-taled Hawk juvenile flying byRed-tailed Hawk juvenile flying by – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

I’d like this image a whole lot better if the hawk had been a little higher so the out of focus rock and foreground vegetation weren’t in front of the left wing and tail of the Red-tailed.

Red-tailed Hawk landingRed-tailed Hawk landing – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light, not baited

This is a “kick my own butt” shot because it is such a dynamic landing pose and I messed up by clipping the top of the wings. If only I had pulled my zoom back a bit or raised my lens a little. My bottom was sore for days.

Red-tailed Hawk gliding pastRed-tailed Hawk gliding past – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I think I was able to take about 20 images of the juvenile as it slowly glided by towards prey on the ground.

Perched juvenile Red-tailed HawkPerched juvenile Red-tailed Hawk – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light

I like how regal the young Red-tailed looks in this frame.

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 photographing birds. My approach is to photograph the birds without disturbing their natural behavior. I don't bait, use set ups or call them in. I use Nikon gear and has multiple camera bodies and lenses.

30 Comments

  1. Awesome series of this beautiful young raptor.

  2. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Once again, I am stunned by the magnificent photography, Mia. And so very thankful that you allow us to share these experiences. Many thanks.

  3. Wonderful post! I’m still learning and the quality of your images gives me hope! One thing I notice is I need to increase my shutter speed a lot. I love all of these stunning shots. – Wally

  4. Absolutely incredible shots Mia! I feel for you, I really do. You can’t imagine how many times I have clipped wings on take off shots even after telling myself to raise my lens a bit knowing the bird was ready to fly. I’m sure you will make up for that miss in one of your future wondrous escapades ;-)

    • Thank you Larry, I can imagine how many times you have clipped wings because it also happens to me! Some birds take off by lifting up, some drop down slightly before heading upwards and then some do the opposite of what they normally do just to throw us photographers off!! ;-)

  5. Humming Bird Lover

    Hi! Such great colors,details and a very moving group of photo’s!!! I love them

  6. Mia, these shots are amazing!!!!

  7. Your red tail hawk images have put mine to shame Mia. They are gorgeous. I wished I’d had a better setting to capture the red tail like you do. Carol

  8. I agree. The clipped wings don’t detract from it at all! I long to get shots like that. Well done!

  9. Fabulous photos!!! Don’t be so HARD on yourself!!!!!!!

  10. Awesome shots, Mia. That clipped wing doesn’t deter from the excitement of the image. It is my favorite of the bunch.

  11. Brilliant images, and you took it flying.

  12. Great shots but I especially love the one of him gliding!

  13. Beautiful Mia! I love the drama of the second image.

  14. I don’t know but I think they’re pretty amazing Mia:) I know what you mean about clipping the wings off of the bird in the shot…..but when they’re moving, you have to track and unfortuneatly that does happen one in awhile. Hope you have a great weekend!

    • Thank you Chris. I just think the image with the clipped wings would be more compelling and powerful if I hadn’t clipped the wing tips. We win some and lose some when it comes to that! Hope you have a wonderful weekend too!

  15. These are breathtaking. I can only feel my own spirit soar when I look at these. I no longer feel bad about clipping wings because you got the trunk of the bird and that’s what’s important. As long as the trunk is there you shouln’t feel bad,. Great setting and top notch photograpjy.

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