On my mid-July journey to southwestern Montana it seemed like there were juvenile hawks every where I looked, the east and west side of the Centennial Valley and the south and north sides too. Although I did see and photograph juvenile Swainson’s Hawks, it was the Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) juveniles that seemed to be the most abundant during the entire trip. Red-tailed Hawks hunt by perching on posts, fences and elevated perches and by kiting. It is fun to watch the juveniles looking for prey on the ground, diving for the prey and waiting to see if they caught or missed it.
When we first came across this juvenile it was perched with another juvie on the top rail of an old fence. Not long after getting there this juvenile Red-tailed dove towards the ground very close to the fence and came back up onto the rails with empty talons. For about 15 minutes the young hawk stayed on the rail looking around for more prey and then it lifted off (back to me of course!) to perch on a post that was further away from the road. On the way back the young Buteo was still on the pole so I wasn’t able to get any more images that were closer than these.