I probably don’t say often enough that I feel so grateful to do what I do, to photograph my wild subjects in their natural habitats and to be able to follow my passion of creating images of such beautiful creatures. To know that my subjects have no hate, no egos and no malice and that they do what they do to survive and procreate. I felt all of that yesterday when I photographed this handsome adult intermediate morph Swainson’s Hawk.
That said, if you prefer not to view graphic images such as a hawk eating a vole, you might want to stop reading and viewing right here. Personally, I don’t find it gross or offensive, the hawk is just doing what comes naturally to a predator of the sky.
I saw this Swainson’s Hawk catch this vole but the capture was obstructed by grasses and sagebrush so I waited and I photographed the hawk again once it landed on a perch and began to devour the vole. They are quite efficient at stripping out what they eat and leaving the rest.
The hawk didn’t take long at all to finish eating the vole and it scraped its bill on the fence post and cleaned off one of its talons before a vehicle speeding by chased the hawk off of its perch.
The hawk didn’t fly very far and landed on another fence post nearby to finish its post meal preening session. They do get into some odd looking poses while preening and I find all of them amusing.
Like this image where the hawk was preening a feather on its neck and still had it grasped in its bill.
The hawk might look goofy but I still feel it is important to present my subjects doing what they do naturally and I realize that not everyone has the opportunities I do to see this happening in the wild.
He still had blood on his talons and bill when I left.
This Swainson’s Hawk was right next to the road the entire time I photographed it and I was able to get a series of it it where the hawk nearly filled the frame from top to bottom. Then he lifted off and flew low and straight overhead to a field behind me to look for prey on the ground. I wasn’t ready when he flew right at me, I wish I had gotten those shots too.
I saw quite a few Swainson’s Hawks yesterday though none of them were as cooperative as this one was. I am glad to see them back from South America.
Have I mentioned that I love what I do?
Life is good.