Hatch year Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk juvenileRed-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 1000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VT with 1.4x TC at 264mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

Yesterday we met up with Becka on Antelope Island to show her the location where we spotted yet another escaped falconry bird, a female American Kestrel. I’ll write more about the kestrel later. We left for the island later than normal because the light had been awful when we would usually head that way. The light was still bad when we reached the island but there was some clearing to the west of it so there was at least a possibility that there would be enough to get take some images of birds or animals.

After we showed Becka where we found the escaped American Kestrel we drove around looking for her and other raptors south of the Frary Peak turn off. On our way back north I spotted this immature Red-tailed Hawk high up on the rocks on a perch many birds have used as seen by the copious amounts of white-wash. When we drove up the juvenile Red-tail stayed calm as we passed it on the one lane road to get past it for a good light angle.

I certainly didn’t need ISO 1000 to photograph this young hawk, that was a setting I used earlier when the light was low. The hawk didn’t stay long, I only took 8 images of it before it lifted off facing away from us and then less than a minute later we saw it flying low to the ground below us with prey in its bill where it landed to dine on the vole it had captured.

I recall that when I first started photographing the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks in this area back in August that they missed their prey more times than they would capture it and now they seem to have gone the other way, they are catching the prey more than they are missing it.

A lot of people cheer for their favorite team or sports star, me; I’m cheering these young and amazing raptors on!


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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. Pingback: More on Escaped Falconry Birds | Mia McPherson's On The Wing Photography

  2. You had a nice background for this shot. Really pleasing head turn as well. I never tire of looking at these handsome raptors!

  3. Humming Bird Lover

    Hi! beautiful bird and the light was just right ,also. Glad you were able to catch some pictures! Great work!

  4. Very nice capture Mia – and I cheer for the raptors too.

  5. Simply beautiful, Mia! The light really provides an exceptionally warm tone to this image.

  6. The feather pattern is so detailed here.

  7. Beautiful photo Mia! I’m interested to hear more about the Kestrel as well…

  8. Love that Hawk, well captured Mia.

  9. Nice capture Mia looking forward to hearing more about the the kestrel.

  10. I love the attentive pose, it shows the Hawk’s intelligence, wonderful photo Mia:)

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