Close up of a Red-tailed Hawk in flightClose up of a Red-tailed Hawk in flight – Nikon D810, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm, natural light, not baited

I seriously don’t know why some people do the things they do and there are times that I read articles and find myself simultaneously exceedingly sad and tremendously angry when those articles have to do with the malicious, illegal killing of birds and wildlife. I became infuriated yesterday when I saw an article in my Facebook timeline about a man named Richard Parker of Lassen County California who has been arrested for the illegal mass killing of at least 135 raptors. This is likely the largest raptor poaching case ever in the history of California.

Raptors are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) and there is no way this 67 year-old man didn’t know that. Not only did he kill raptors including Red-tailed Hawks, one owl and one Ferruginous Hawk on his 80 acre property he was also found to be in possession of two dead bobcats, one taxidermied mountain lion and other nongame birds.

I can’t even begin to fathom why a person would kill one let alone this many raptors. I can’t understand this kind of person and I am not sure I would want to see inside their brains to know what they are thinking.

Red-tailed Hawk chick close upRed-tailed Hawk chick close up – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 400, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I hope that this man is charged to the full extent of the law, that they confiscate his personal property, is found guilty of his crime, convicted of a felony, has to pay stiff fines, is sent to prison for a long period of time, never allowed to hunt again in his life and is never allowed to possess a gun again. Period.


The adult Red-tailed Hawk in the photo above was photographed in Utah County, Utah in September of 2014. The Red-tailed Hawk chick was photographed in June of 2017 after 80 mph winds destroyed its nest and blew it and its siblings out of their nest before they were old enough to fledge naturally.