Immature Red-tailed Hawk Taking Flight In Northern Utah

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Immature Red-tailed Hawk perched on a thin branchImmature Red-tailed Hawk perched on a thin branch – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

Some days are great for bird photography and some days aren’t but even on those days that aren’t one great bird can make getting up early and traveling for many miles worth it. Yesterday was one of those days where I thought I would come home and not have any images worth keeping until I spotted an immature Red-tailed Hawk perched on a tree near the road.

The young hawk perched for a bit in the original tree and when another immature red-tailed flew past it joined the second hawk in flight and then they both landed and perched on another tree that was close by. These photos are of the second immature Red-tailed Hawk, the first one perched behind the branches and this one perched on the “good” side where there weren’t any branches in front of it.

There was a lot of traffic on the road and I could see that the immature Red-tailed Hawk appeared to be anxious to lift off and move away from the road.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk right after lifting offImmature Red-tailed Hawk right after lifting off – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

So I was ready when the hawk lifted off from the thin branch it had been perched on and launched itself into the air. I have to admit that I was glad there were some clouds in the sky because for my tastes this is more visually appealing than just plain blue sky.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk taking flight in northern UtahImmature Red-tailed Hawk taking flight in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

I’m also glad the Russian Olive had already shed its leaves because the thin, bare branches in most of these images are far less distracting than they would have been if they had been covered in leaves.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk gaining altitude in flightImmature Red-tailed Hawk gaining altitude in flight – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

The immature Red-tailed Hawk quickly gained altitude with just a few flaps of its strong wings.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk in flight with a pastel colored skyImmature Red-tailed Hawk in flight with a pastel colored sky – Nikon D500, f6.3, 1/8000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

Then it cleared the branches of the olive and was flying in the open sky where it turned and landed on fence post in a farmer’s field away from the busy road.

This immature Red-tailed Hawk and the photos I took of it along a road in northern Utah made my day.

Life is good.

Mia

I’m glad I had removed my teleconverter prior to taking this series of images because otherwise I may have had quite a few photos where the wings of my subject had been clipped. I should have decreased my ISO, I really didn’t need 1/8000 for my shutter speed. 

7 Comments

  1. Laura Culley November 21, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Yes, like EC said, I’m very happy to see this series. What stands out to me is the intensity of focus in those eyes. I really miss seeing that every day. But I’ve always wondered why they insist on perching on the spindly branches, often those at the top of the tree! LOL! Yes, there’s the height issue–commanding as much real estate as possible, but still. Several times out with Mariah, that branch would snap, which creates a whole different intensity of focus in those eyes 🙂 I love redtails and I’m constantly reminded just how lucky we are to have them in North America!!
    Sorry to be so late, but I avoided civilization for a couple of days.

  2. Mia McPherson November 20, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Thank all of you for your kind comments.

  3. Pepe Forte November 20, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Terrific study of the hawk taking off. Love the detail. They really are beautiful birds. Thanks Mia.

  4. Elephants Child November 19, 2017 at 1:19 pm

    As I commented on Ron’s blog, an amazing take-off, but landing amongst all those branches would be challenging too. And a very beautiful bird. Laura will be v happy to see it.

  5. April Olson November 19, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Lovely colors. Again my favorite range. Looks like a lovely day to be out.

  6. Liz Cormack November 19, 2017 at 10:12 am

    Oh, my! What a great series of photos.

  7. Patty Chadwick November 19, 2017 at 8:57 am

    That is such a beautiful bird and the wing span is so wide-spread it’s a miracle it can get through that many branches…

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