Warning – Swainson’s Hawks Ahead

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Swainson's Hawk on Warning SignSwainson’s Hawk on Warning Sign – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Two days ago after I photographed the three Short-eared Owl chicks I drove further north in Box Elder County and came upon one Swainson’s Hawk after another perched on fence posts and signs along the road and flying above the fields to the east and west. I’d say within one mile there were at least 15 or more Swainson’s Hawks that I could see with my naked eyes.

So when I photographed the adult Swainson’s Hawk above on a warning sign for buried cable I knew I had the title for this post.

Swainson's Hawk and a field of greenSwainson’s Hawk and a field of green – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This Swainson’s Hawk seemed to have a paler head than the adults nearby or even those in my photo galleries so I wondered if this is a sub-adult about to go into adult plumage. Swainson’s Hawks do take several years to develop definitive basic plumage. I’ll leave the age of this Swainson’s Hawk to experts though.

Regal Swainson's HawkRegal Swainson’s Hawk – Nikon D810, f9, 1/800, ISO 400, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Almost all of the hawks I saw on that little stretch of road were beautiful light morph adults like this regal Swainson’s Hawk perch on a rusty metal fence post.

One thing I know for certain is that when the weather clears I know I am going to head back up there. And I will probably think about the title of this post… Warning – Swainson’s Hawks Ahead.

Life is good.


I have tons more Short-eared Owl images to post from that day but I didn’t want people to get sick of seeing my owl images, they will be posted soon.


  1. Liv May 25, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    No way

  2. Liv May 25, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    Ha ha! Funny!
    What a coincidence that a hawk was standing on that warning sign.
    Beautiful bird!

  3. Utahbooklover May 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Wonderful images all but I especially like the feather detail on the second one.

  4. Linda Laugen May 25, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Re: Swainson’s Hawk: YOU should open a PEOPLE-PORTRAIT STUDIO, too! Magnifique!

    + I’m with everyone else re: owls!

  5. Elephant's Child May 25, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    There is no such animal as too many owls.
    I also love that you have a plethora (and can’t you hear the feathers in that word) of swainsons hawks this season.

  6. Patty Chadwick May 25, 2016 at 9:52 am

    “Too many” owls is never enough…especially Great Horned, Burrowing, Barn, Screech and Short-ears…and more!!!

  7. John Sherrill May 25, 2016 at 9:00 am

    Great pictures! Sounds like raptor paradise. Thanks to you, the three places I know in Utah are: Box Elder Co. , Antelope Island, and Bear River Preserve. Thanks, John

  8. Bob McPherson May 25, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Gorgeous photos, Mia. What an exquisite find.

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