Photographing a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk – Remembering to Breathe and Relax

Home/Birds, Box Elder County, Red-tailed Hawks, Utah/Photographing a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk – Remembering to Breathe and Relax

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk on rusty metal pipesJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk on rusty metal pipes – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I’m running a little late this morning because I had to work on some server issues so I will keep my text content to a minimum.

I was fortunate to find a very cooperative juvenile Red-tailed Hawk yesterday morning in northern Utah, this young hawk is from a nest I have been following since March and it has been such a treat to watch the little wobbly-headed chicks mature to seeing them on the wing. I’m kind of on the fence whether to call the hawk a fledgling or a juvenile because it has only recently fledged but it is flying on its own even though it does seem rather clumsy at times.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk walking on a rusty fence railJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk walking on a rusty fence rail – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

The young Red-tailed Hawk seems to be the clumsiest while trying to walk, it is handling flying quite well. It had trouble keeping its balance on a metal pipe being used as fencing material.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk having trouble with its balanceJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk having trouble with its balance – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

And it slipped several times while I photographed it. I really couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the young raptor nearly falling off its perch.

Portrait of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk in northern UtahPortrait of a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

It didn’t seem to have any problems when it landed on solid ground.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched on a lichen covered rockJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk perched on a lichen covered rock – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

Or on the rocks of a nearby outcropping. In fact it seemed very confident when it was on the rocks.

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk panting in the heatJuvenile Red-tailed Hawk panting in the heat – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

It was hot yesterday and the young hawk seemed to pant at times to cool off. It also called out to the nearby adults a few times too.

Funny look from a preening juvenile Red-tailed HawkFunny look from a preening juvenile Red-tailed Hawk – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

It preened and I was able to capture a few images where it seemed that the juvenile Red-tailed Hawk was giving me funny looks.

Wet and bedraggled Red-tailed Hawk juvenileWet and bedraggled Red-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 320, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

It also went down to an area with water and I don’t know if it was just getting a drink or if it was attempting to bathe because tall grasses were obstructing my view but when it flew back up to the rusty metal pipe it had a wet chest and was struggling to stay on the perch. When it spread out its wings I couldn’t fit the whole hawk into my view finder. But I really liked this photo.

I needed time out with the birds yesterday and this young Red-tailed Hawk helped me to relax, breathe and remember that things have a way of working out.

Life is good.

Mia

11 Comments

  1. Myriam July 7, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Wonderful photos, Mia! 🙂 So fun to see the young hawk learning to balance on different perches. The portrait is stunning and that last photo is beautiful and really cool.

  2. Pepe Forte July 6, 2017 at 10:22 am

    Wow. As always, the detail in your images is terrific…but the intensity you captured in the hawk’s eyes is flat-out incredible! Thanks Mia.

  3. Elephants Child July 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Megathanks. I am grateful to see that the majesty of these birds isn’t innate, but learned. Perhaps, just perhaps there is hope for me yet…

    • Laura Culley July 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm

      Well, it’s a mixture of innate/instinctual (perfect knowledge installed at the factory) and learned. The basics are there but they have to learn how to operate the controls effectively. That takes practice–for all of us 🙂 At least that’s how I see it. I can always be wrong.

  4. marie rossachacj July 5, 2017 at 9:40 am

    thank you for the series and the reminder to breathe and the encouragement that things will work out. <3

  5. Laura Culley July 5, 2017 at 9:05 am

    Oh I LOVE this series! You and Ron certainly started my day off right! You added a whole different perspective of this young hawk from Ron’s selection. Personally, I’d go with calling her a juvenile, but she’s really teetering on the edge of fledgling. Since the transition happens so rapidly, I’d go with juvenile because she’s probably gone over the fledgling line by today :-).
    You guys ROCK!

  6. April Olson July 5, 2017 at 9:00 am

    Lovely photos. They have such a beautiful habitat to explore.

  7. Diane McPherson July 5, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I love them all. Especially the one looking over his shoulder. Thanks for sharing the Red Tails.

  8. Kim July 5, 2017 at 8:21 am

    Wow! Stunning images!

  9. Patty Chadwick July 5, 2017 at 7:09 am

    I loved this series, but liked your cooment even better…”…remember that things have a way of working our”…I’m going to cling to that ….

  10. Lynn July 5, 2017 at 6:45 am

    Beautiful. Well, I think that might be an understatement!

Comments are closed.