Perched Sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk in Low Light

Sub-adult Swainson's Hawk perched near a nest boxSub-adult Swainson’s Hawk perched near a nest box – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 1000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I’ve been meaning to post images of this sub-adult Swainson’s Hawk in low light for about a year now and I am finally getting around to it. The hawk was perched on a fence post above a bluebird nest box next to a road at Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Montana two years ago and even though the light wasn’t the best I just had to take images of it.

Sub-adult Swainson's Hawk in low lightSub-adult Swainson’s Hawk in low light – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/500, ISO 1000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I liked the weathered wood of the fence post with the lichen growing on it, the sagebrush and grasses in the out of focus background and the relaxed pose of the hawk.

The light wasn’t perfect, that is for sure, but the hawk was.

Life is good.



  1. Linda Laugen September 14, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Just read the other comments before writing my own – and am fascinated that apparently several of us wanted to touch or hold the lovely feathered thing!! “I was going to say that!” Must remind myself, as the Decorah Eagles program emphasizes, these are wild creatures and not really meant for cuddling! I love the weathered wood, too!

  2. Margot Rawlins September 14, 2016 at 7:43 pm

    Do you have a similar progression in age for Red Tailed Hawks?

  3. Kim September 12, 2016 at 6:27 am

    Yes! The hawk is perfect. I almost feel I can touch those soft feathers!

  4. Elephant's Child September 10, 2016 at 1:57 pm

    Patty is right. It is a sculptural shot, which my fingers can almost feel.

  5. M. Bruce September 10, 2016 at 10:55 am

    The light might not have been perfect, but the hawk absolutely was.

  6. April Olson September 10, 2016 at 9:49 am

    Beautiful images, the first one with the nest box kind of reminds me of an avian version of Little Red Riddinghood and the Big Bad Wolf.

  7. Liz Cormack September 10, 2016 at 8:02 am

    For this shot, I think the light was perfect…..or at least you make it look perfect!

  8. Patty Chadwick September 10, 2016 at 6:58 am

    I love the weathered wood(always love that stuff) and the contrast of the fluffiness of the bird…can almost feel the different textures…rough, sculptured wood, soft, feathers of the bird….

  9. Bob mcpherson September 10, 2016 at 6:25 am

    Beautiful image, Mia.

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