Swainson’s Hawk juvenile in low light

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Swainson's Hawk juvenile in low lightSwainson’s Hawk juvenile in low light – Nikon D810, f5, 1/800, ISO 800, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

I put a CF card into my backup camera two days ago and realized that the card still had images on it from my last trip up to Montana in September of 2014 and on that card I found images of this juvenile Swainson’s Hawk photographed in Beaverhead County. I had uploaded the images to my hard drives I just hadn’t formatted that card.

The light was cruddy the day I took this image but that didn’t stop me from taking images of this very cooperative bird. It perched on a fence post along side the road and was so close I had to take my teleconverter off and even then it was tight. This frame was only cropped a small amount on the side but top to bottom that is as much space as I had. For a bit I even took images of it with my D300 with my 70-300mm VR lens because I knew if the young hawk took off it was going to be clipped.

The young Swainson’s didn’t take off even though other vehicles went past it. When these hawks are young they seem to have little fear of humans in vehicles. This Swainson’s Hawk was still perched on the post when we went down the road.

I wonder if this juvenile Swainson’s made the long migration to South America and if I will see it again in the Centennial Valley of Montana this spring.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover January 31, 2015 at 10:30 pm

    Always enjoy seeing a hawk, so glad you found and posted this sweet image.

  2. CJ Oakley January 31, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    Beautiful capture Mia – glad you found it and posted 🙂

  3. Elephant's Child January 31, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Oh my. If I was that beautiful I would cooperate with photographers as well.

  4. Patty Chadwick January 31, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I love the way these big birds can tuck one foot up out of sight…so that it seems to completely disappear…

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