Red-tailed Hawks in Montana soaking up the morning light

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A pair of Red-tails basking in morning lightRed-tailed Hawks in Montana soaking up the morning light – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1000, ISO 640, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

I photographed this mated pair of Red-tailed Hawks last week in western Montana as they soaked up the warming rays of the morning sun. I love the coloring of both the hawks especially the male at the bottom. I’ve seen this resident pair at this same location two years in a row now.

We traveled extensively during the trip last week to many counties in Montana and a few in Idaho and I took 6022 images including landscapes, mammals and some flowers and spent time photographing from sunrise to sundown with short breaks during the afternoon to unload cards when the light was at its harshest.

Montana was beautiful and I can’t wait to go back.




  1. Julie Brown June 11, 2013 at 7:12 pm

    Sweet light and nicely balanced composition!

  2. Sherry in MT June 11, 2013 at 5:20 pm

    Still visiting Mia but alas can’t always comment when I do visit (darned firewalls anyway) so don’t think I’ve abandoned you! Lovely photos from your trip!

  3. M. Firpi June 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

    These look a bit like juveniles to me, but I may be wrong.

    • Mia McPherson June 11, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Hi Maria, these are adult Red-tailed Hawks, you can see the red tail of the bird on the top which juveniles do not have and in other photos I took of the bird at the bottom the red tail is very visible, also the rest of the plumage on juveniles is quite different from adults. The two birds are far more rufous than one would expect to see in a juvenile.

  4. Bob Bushell June 11, 2013 at 2:52 am

    Beautiful shots Mia.

  5. Dick Harlow June 10, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    Very nice shots Mia, thanks for sharing!
    Looking forward to more images from your trip!!

    • Mia McPherson June 11, 2013 at 11:36 am

      Thank you Dick, I took tons of images this trip

  6. Susan Stone June 10, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Finally, someone who takes more photos than I do! I’m sure all of yours are better than mine, since mine are essentially snapshots taken with a point & shoot camera. This is a lovely photo.

    • Mia McPherson June 11, 2013 at 11:37 am

      LOL Susan, digital is great, imagine if we had to pay film and processing costs for this many images! Thank you.

  7. eric c11 June 10, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    excellent to get 2 in same frame, the tree and ligth is nice too, it’s make a good picture
    well done mia

  8. Lynn Koch June 10, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Beautiful shots, Mia! I love the way the lighting bring out the ruddy quality of their feathers!

    • Mia McPherson June 11, 2013 at 11:38 am

      Thank you Lynn, I do love the rufous tones this pair has.

  9. Beverly Everson June 10, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Cool find and shot!

  10. Julie G. June 10, 2013 at 7:44 am

    Such handsome birds so beautifully photographed! Sounds like you had a wonderful time in Montana. Looking forward to viewing many more images from your trip.

    • Mia McPherson June 11, 2013 at 11:39 am

      I did have a marvelous time in Montana Julie and explored some new areas in Idaho as well, it was an awesome trip. Thanks for commenting!

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