Back in March of this year I started watching and photographing a pair of Red-tailed Hawks in the process of building their nest on the face of a high cliff, these two juveniles are the results of the hard work of that pair of hawks. They hatched two young and both of them fledged. The female of that pair was the big, red Red-tailed that I had trouble getting decent photographs of earlier this spring but was finally able to get decent images of her on the 8th of May. She is a stunner and although I saw her two days ago I wanted to focus this post on her gorgeous young that I found on the same morning.
Red-tailed Hawk siblings on a lichen covered rock – Nikon D500, f8, 1/2500, ISO 500, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
When I first spotted the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks they were not together, but after the process of getting turned around to photograph the darker of the two young hawks the second, lighter juvenile flew in and joined its sibling on a lichen-covered rock. Both of the juveniles called quite often when they weren’t just looking around. I didn’t know at this point in time that the female wasn’t far away to the south. The darker of the two young hawks had been feeding on something at the top of this rock when I first saw it but whatever it was eating was too small for me to identify.
Red-tailed Hawk juvenile lifting off over its sibling – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
After a bit the darker juvenile, who may look very much like its gorgeous, rufous female parent when it is in adult plumage, lifted off over its sibling…
Red-tailed Hawk juvenile in flight at eye level – Nikon D500, f9, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
And flew to a marshy area to the east and landed on a clump of rushes where it called and called and called. I think it was still hungry and was hoping that one of the adults would bring it some prey to eat.
I wish I had been with these juvenile Red-tailed Hawks about a half an hour to forty-five minutes earlier when the light would have been softer and the shadows less pronounced. It was only 8:10 in the morning when I took this photo, the sunlight gets harsh early at this time of the year.
Red-tailed Hawk juvenile getting ready to lift off – Nikon D500, f9, 1/2000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
Later on the lighter of the two juvenile Red-tailed Hawks flew to a couple of different rocks on the hillside, it stayed for a while on this rock within view of its sibling who was still calling from the clump of rushes on the other side of the road. Eventually it took off and I said goodbye to these beautiful Red-tailed Hawk siblings to head north up the road and towards home.
I was delighted to see that these two survived fledging and I hope they do well their first year because the first year of their life will be the toughest.
Life is good.