Swainson’s Hawk in southwestern Montana

/, Beaverhead County, Centennial Valley, Montana, Swainson's Hawks/Swainson’s Hawk in southwestern Montana

Swainson's Hawk lifting off from a grassy slopeSwainson’s Hawk lifting off from a grassy slope – Nikon D7100, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light, not baited

Before I write about this Swainson’s Hawk I want to update my viewers on the Utah Crow Hunt. Yesterday we had a large turnout for the Wildlife Board hearing on the crow hunt, most were opposed to the hunt and we even had some hunters voice their opposition. Two members of the board voted against the hunt. Thank you Bill Fenimore and Mike King, your votes are much appreciated.

Three members of the board voted for the hunt, they are John BairCalvin Crandall and Steve Dalton.

This isn’t over yet. Our voices will not be ignored. Once the audio minutes for the meeting are posted on the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources web site I plan to do another post on this issue.

Last week I was able to photograph this Swainson’s Hawk in southwestern Montana as it lifted off from a grassy slope heading up Monida Hill. The bird was on the wrong side of the pickup so I slipped out the door and balanced my lens on the top of the pickup bed.

Swainson's Hawk gaining air speedSwainson’s Hawk gaining air speed – Nikon D7100, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light, not baited

The Swainson’s Hawk’s legs were still dangling below it when this frame was taken and it sure looked like it had something targeted with its eyes. I wouldn’t want to be a grasshopper while this hawk was around.

Eye level Swainson's HawkEye level Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D7100, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light, not baited

By the time I took this image the Swainson’s had tucked its legs close to its body for less air resistance. The slope of Monida Hill in the background does look a bit messy but this is where these insect eating hawks are found foraging.

Swainson's Hawk in flightSwainson’s Hawk in flight – Nikon D7100, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC at 500mm, natural light, not baited

This Swainson’s and what appeared to be its mate seem to favor this hill, it wasn’t the only time we saw them on the hill or on nearby power poles. I didn’t see any juvenile Swainson’s this trip but I hope to on another journey.

Mia

11 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover July 30, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Excellent images Mia. And thanks for your anti-crow hunt support, even though we lost that round. I wanted to attend but was still recovering from an illness, however did post my opposition at their site.

    • Mia McPherson July 30, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Utahbooklover, the board allowed for time for the board members to go into two separate rooms to read the emails that had come through on line from their site. At least one board member left the auditorium and I never saw him go into the room he was supposed to be in to see and read those emails.

      This isn’t over. Not yet.

  2. Dave Sparks July 30, 2014 at 1:15 pm

    Looks like the new 500mm lens is working for you…. sharp images in tough focus situation.

  3. Elephant's Child July 30, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Patty (as always) called the BS for what it is. We need to invest a whole lot more money in finding a cure for stupidity – and jerkdom.
    Fingers and toes crossed.
    And thank you for the Swainson Hawk shots to remind me that there is beauty (and a lot of it) in this world.

  4. Jolanta July 30, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Beautiful hawk and photos 🙂

  5. Patty Chadwick July 30, 2014 at 7:38 am

    Maybe it should be called “Blackbird Slaughter” and simply be referred to as BS

  6. Tana Hunter July 30, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Thank you, Mia, for all your work on the crow hunt. And also thank you for posting these wonderful pictures of these hawks. Dear birds: Eat all the grasshoppers you can find! Thank you, too!

    • Mia McPherson July 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

      Thanks for your support on the crow hunt Tana.

  7. Mia McPherson July 30, 2014 at 6:35 am

    Thanks Patty!

    I have to quote Forest Gump: Stupid is as stupid does

  8. Patty Chadwick July 30, 2014 at 6:23 am

    This is a wonderful take off sequence…espcially like the fitst fot the implied power of the downstroke to follow and the third for the graceful curve of the primaries…the vote on the “Black Birds slaughter” makes me sick!

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