Juvenile Red-tailed, Rough-legged, Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks

Red-tailed Hawk juvenileRed-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

Today I thought I would post images of the juvenile Buteos that I see most often in Utah and Montana, they are Red-tailed, Rough-legged, Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks.  The Red-tailed, Ferruginous and Swainson’s Hawks all breed in my area, the Rough-legged Hawks breed in the Arctic.

I photographed the young Red-tailed Hawk above during the summer in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County, Montana. It was a very cooperative bird and I was able to take quite a few images of it, I liked this image because of the way the raptor appeared to be staring intensely at something on the ground.

Rough-legged Hawk juvenileRough-legged Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f9, 1/800, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

This juvenile Rough-legged Hawk was also very cooperative as it preened and fluffed on Antelope Island State Park in Davis County, Utah. This bird was photographed during the winter which is the only time I see Rough-legged Hawks in Utah and Montana.

Ferruginous Hawk juvenileFerruginous Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

This young Ferruginous Hawk was photographed the same morning as the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk shown above in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County, Montana. The Ferruginous Hawk hasn’t gotten the rufous coloration to its feathered legs yet. I wish I had been closer to this juvenile as it appeared that some of the radiant heat rising from the road may have interfered with this image being as sharp as I wanted it or it may have been the pickup idling, I am not sure.

Swainson's Hawk juvenileSwainson’s Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f8, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

This juvenile Swainson’s Hawk was photographed in the Centennial Valley of Beaverhead County Montana too, nearby there was another juvenile and adult Swainson’s but they weren’t in good light like this young bird was.

I always, and I do mean always, feel privileged when I am in the presence of these magnificent raptors where I can observe them and their behaviors and photograph these amazing hawks.

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.

20 Comments

  1. I love this post Mia. Great photos. And I just love the birds.

  2. I agree – it’s so fabulous to see these bird all grouped together. It’s hard to find collected photos like this to help with key ID points. They’re really beautiful, Mia.

  3. This is great continuing education, again! Wonderful images and fantastic information. I totally agree with you about being privileged to be in the presence of such magnificent raptors.

  4. Magnificent birds and images, Mia!

  5. Incredible photos, Mia! All such striking raptors!

  6. I love these wildlife portraits, they show one the beauty of professional portraiture of wild animals.

  7. Me too and your images are amazing as always, all the rough legs here are not fond of cooperating and love to set wayyyy up at the tippy top of the power poles, not conducive for good shots even though we have scads of them.

  8. Just amazing raptor captures, Mia! Well done!

  9. Beautiful bird of prey.

  10. Awesome series, Mia! First-year buteos are easy to confuse and this is a great side-by-side comparison. If only it was this easy to distinguish them in the field!

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