A scruffy sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk

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A scruffy sub-adult Swainson's HawkA scruffy sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 357mm, natural light, not baited

A friend of mine said “MORE RAPTORS!” when I posted a male Red-winged Blackbird two days ago… so here is a raptor! One very scruffy looking sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk coming right up!

Seriously, I wish I understood more about molting with many of the raptors including Swainson’s Hawk and perhaps if I ever find some free time I will attempt to study molt patterns more closely.

Yep, this Swainson’s Hawk is scruffy and ragged. It also looks shabby, frayed, tattered and worn out and it still looks handsome to me. Kind of like the guys I know who spend hours in the field getting scruffy while photographing birds.



  1. Jerry liguori November 18, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Thanks Bryce!!!!

  2. Hummingbirdlover November 18, 2013 at 9:28 am

    Hi! Great work keep up your wonderful Blog page! Have a good shooting day.

  3. Bryce November 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Such a neat photo Mia. If you’re interested in nailing down an understanding of raptor molt, Jerry is the guy to learn from!

  4. Jerry Liguori November 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm


  5. Jerry Liguori November 17, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks Mia! I’m so happy you obliged my needs and wants. Your the best.

  6. Elephant's Child November 17, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    In my biased eyes, his scruffiness is beautiful. Which I think stemmed from my father’s teaching – ‘if it does the job for which it was designed, it is beautiful’.
    As this bird is.
    Thank you – and I always love raptor britches.

  7. Jane Chesebrough November 17, 2013 at 12:58 pm

    I am intrigued by your comment about the when and why of of raptor’s molting. Please post if you go deeper into this. I see some hilarious magpies at the end of summer when some look ghoulish because there is no neck except for the skeleton and they are bald-there is safety in numbers.i wonder if the raptors hide out a little. I like the photo as it definitely has character and displays an important part of life and should be included with the “prettier” photos. Chuckled about the ruffled birders/photographers-so true.

  8. Stu November 17, 2013 at 10:40 am

    sooo much detail.. I really do not know how you manage to have everything focused and well lit in your photographs! excellent

  9. Patty Chadwick November 17, 2013 at 10:17 am

    I think this bird is gorgeous!!! I love the “dirty” birds anyway/ the young speckled ones…like the juvenile eagle’ some of us call “dirty birds”.

  10. Merrill Ann Gonzales November 17, 2013 at 9:50 am

    So glad you posted this today… I’m feeling scruffy too… although your Swainson’s looks a whole lot better than I do. You can’t post enough raptors for me… I’m addicted to your marvelous photograph. For my Christmas Wish List: I wish you’d catch a LBJ (little brown job) in the sparrow family on the wing. Most people photo them perched and I’m grateful for those photos believe me.
    This Swainson’s photo is so wonderful… I’m marveling that the bird could fly so beautifully with that gap in its tail. Many thanks.

  11. Montanagirl November 17, 2013 at 7:10 am

    Beautiful capture, Mia.

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