Photographing Red-tailed Hawk juvies on the wing

Red-tailed juvenile landing on a rock outcroppingRed-tailed juvenile landing on a rock outcropping – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 300mm, natural light, not baited

These are a just few images that I have edited taken since August of Red-tailed Hawk juveniles on Antelope Island State Park.

The juvenile Red-tailed above was just coming in to land on a rocky out cropping, the white wash is a sign that this rock is used as a perch often and not just by the Red-tailed Hawks. I’ve seen American Kestrels, Chukars, Rock Wrens, Western Meadowlarks and more on those rocks.

Red-tailed Hawk juvenile and its shadowRed-tailed Hawk juvenile and its shadow – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Even though the young  hawk is small in the frame in this image I like it because of the bird’s shadow falling on the rock below it.

Red-tailed juvie flying pastRed-tailed juvie flying past – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This immature Red-tailed Hawk was looking at the rock it would soon perch on as it flew past me.

We have lift offWe have lift off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

This Red-tailed juvenile was just lifting off from the dark rocks when I created this image, the talons on the bird’s right foot were still touching the perch it was leaving. This frame shows how long the legs of these Red-tailed Hawks actually are.


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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.


  1. Mia, that first photo (at the risk of anthropomorphizing which, sadly, I do) looks like a pose for a sermon. I’m so drawn to that image, I can’t stop looking at it.

  2. A free spirit, that’s how I feel when looking at your raptors, all of them are great!

  3. Humming Bird Lover

    Hi! You catch the in flight Photo’s in such a great way! The colors and feather patterns are so perfect. Keep up the beautiful work.

  4. Gorgeous photos of a really snazzy bird Mia; your work is always stunning!

  5. I absolutely love the lighting on your shots. That crystal sharp clear image as they lift off…..nice! Beautiful subjects to capture on camera.

  6. Spectacular! A beautiful bird, perfect images.

  7. Nice juvie pix, Mia!

  8. what fabulous pictures…love it..

  9. Your collection of RT Hawk images is stunning, Mia. I love the landing photo. Looks like it’s conducting an orchestra down below.

  10. They are indeed amazing creatures to watch and your shots are fabulously showing that!

  11. Nice work Mia, seeing it so well photographed, makes it as brilliant as they say.

  12. simply wonderfull, good job mia :-)

  13. Speechless.
    I love the shadow pic!

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