Mating Swainson’s Hawks in Beaverhead County

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A male Swainson's Hawk in Beaverhead County

A male Swainson’s Hawk in Beaverhead County – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I am back from my photo journey to eastern Idaho and southern Montana and I have 4,648 images to go through, cull and select the best of them. When I am on trips like this one I tend to take tons of images but that also means lots of work when I get back.

Three days ago I felt fortunate to come across a mated pair of Swainson’s Hawks in Beaverhead County, Montana, the male was an intermediate morph and the female was a light morph. The male is shown in the photo above and has more rufous on his chest than the female does.

A female Swainson's Hawk in Beaverhead County

A female Swainson’s Hawk in Beaverhead County – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And the female is shown in this image. Both hawks perched for a bit on fence posts along the side of the dirt road with a hillside in the background that is greening up.

A copulating pair of Swainson's Hawks

A copulating pair of Swainson’s Hawks – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Before the two images above were created the pair of Swainson’s Hawks mated in the distance and I was able to get a few images where I could see and get light their eyes but I was a long way from the hawks. I wish I had been a bit closer and that I had been on the other side of the birds for better light but I was happy to get images of them copulating because bird behavior fascinates me.

I had a great trip.

Life is good.

Mia

6 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover May 8, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    Wonderful images. Welcome back home Mia. I am also fascinated with bird behavior.

  2. Brian Long May 6, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    Great shots, Thanks! – Brian

  3. Elephant's Child May 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Wow.
    So glad that the trip improved. Dramatically.

  4. Wally May 6, 2015 at 9:23 am

    Mia, welcome home!

    Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Fantastic images of these beautiful raptors! Nice timing to capture some rarely seen behavior, too.

    Good luck with the culling process! Wish you had some of this strong coffee this morning to help get you started.

  5. Patty Chadwick May 6, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Beautiful, crisp images of two beautiful birds…great detailoo

  6. Glen Fox May 6, 2015 at 6:02 am

    Mia,
    Thank you for sharing your terrific images of these gorgeous raptors. Wonderful detail! Glen

Comments are closed.