Swainson’s Hawk in evening light

Light morph Swainson's Hawk in flight over the Centennial ValleyLight morph Swainson’s Hawk in evening light in flight over the Centennial Valley – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

A month ago I was in the Centennial Valley of Montana camping and the hawks I spent the most time photographing were Swainson’s Hawks. The Swainson’s were fueling up for their long migration to Argentina through the Isthmus of Panama and then south through the Andes. Their migration can take up to two months and cover 14,000 miles.

I’ve shared the photographs of this birds young earlier in these previous posts:  A Very Obliging Swainson’s Hawk JuvenileLight morph Swainson’s Hawk juvenile in low light and  Bird Photography Isn’t Easy But It Does Have Its Rewards.

This adult usually was within eye sight of the juveniles but at times it would fly away to where I couldn’t see it. One of the young hawks was very vocal and called to the adult quite often but when the adult didn’t respond it would search for prey on its own. It is a tough life for these young raptors and many don’t survive their first migration or beyond their first year of life.

I am seeing fewer Swainson’s Hawks now in Utah because most of them have already headed south but in April I expect I will squeal with delight when I see them here again.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover October 7, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    I like Stu’s comments but I had to look again to see the amazed Red-tail Hawk on the right — very observant. Wonderful image Mia. Thank you.

  2. Stu October 7, 2014 at 10:30 am

    I love how the red tailed hawk is amazed too ( the picture on the right 😉 Great lighting!

  3. Patty Chadwick October 7, 2014 at 8:13 am

    You squeal, I gasp…both of us are avid “appreciators”. Beautiful image of a super aerodynamic bird! Am always impressed by how streamlined they are in flight……

  4. Lois Bryan October 7, 2014 at 8:05 am

    oh I love this one!!!!!!!! And just for the record, I’ve been known to squeal, too!!! ; ))

  5. CJ Oakley October 7, 2014 at 7:01 am

    It’s wonderful to know that I am not the only one who ‘squeals in delight’ at the sight of a bird – thanks for sharing that Mia!

    Another fantastic image…

  6. Jolanta October 7, 2014 at 6:10 am

    Beautiful light! Very nice picture, thanks 🙂

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