Cooper’s Hawk with prey in Salt Lake County – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/200, ISO 2500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
It was a bitter cold January morning in 2016 when I photographed this Cooper’s Hawk on prey that I found not far from where I live. I spotted the hawk on the ground well before the sun had risen over the mountains as I was heading to Antelope Island SP and Farmington Bay to photograph birds and finding this one close to home was a great way to start the day. The thing was that in the low light I had to bump my ISO up high but I also knew that the Nikon D810 handled high ISO’s well and it did. I would have liked better light on the hawk but I wasn’t about to pass up the opportunity to photograph the hawk on prey.
The Cooper’s Hawk tore pieces of the dove apart to eat as feathers flew in the pre-dawn light. My keeper rate was low and a large number of the images I took of the hawk were unusable but it was fun to observe this hawk consuming its prey. Some people may be squeamish about that but to me it is only a small part of this hawk’s behavior and another interesting part of nature. Hawk’s do have to eat after all.
Cooper’s Hawk blur – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/125, ISO 2500, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
My shutter speed was pretty low as I photographed the Cooper’s Hawk so my best images were taken when the hawk wasn’t moving much but as it ate there were times the bird would shake its head and I’d fire away because you just never know when you might catch something interesting. This unintentional blur photo of the Cooper’s Hawk appealed to me because of the way the hawk twisted its head. I know that not everyone likes blur photos but I liked this one and wanted to share it today. That spinning hawk’s head just makes me laugh out loud.
I see Cooper’s Hawks near home on a regular basis but usually they aren’t very cooperative and fly away immediately, I’m glad this one was hungry that winter morning so I could photograph it close to home.
Life is good.