Immature Red-tailed Hawk In Flight With The Colors Of Autumn

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Autumn immature Red-tailed Hawk, Davis County, UtahAutumn immature Red-tailed Hawk – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/800, ISO 640, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Just a simple, one image post this morning.

I photographed this immature Red-tailed Hawk about one year ago after leaving Farmington Bay WMA while I was on my way home and just prior to getting on the interstate. I liked the yellow leaves in the background because they show the colors of autumn but I wished at the time that the young hawk had been in better light so I hadn’t posted it here until now. I wasn’t quite sure I could get over the not quite perfect light.

The more I have looked at this image over the past year the more I liked it for the flight pose, the look at the Red-tailed Hawk’s plumage colors against those yellow leaves and somehow the poor lighting conditions became less significant to my eyes.

The photo isn’t perfect but then nature always is in its own way.

Life is good.


Red-tailed Hawk facts and information:

Buteo jamaicensis

  • Red-tailed Hawks can be found in every state in the U.S. except Hawaii and throughout most of Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean.
  • They are hawks of open country, fields, deserts, mixed woodlands, grasslands, roadsides, pastures, range and agricultural areas and will perch and nest on man-made as well as natural objects.
  • Northern Red-tailed Hawks including the Harlan’s subspecies are migratory while other Red-tailed Hawks are year round residents. Hawks that breed high in mountain ranges often descend to lower elevations over the winter.
  • Red-tailed hawks are monogamous and may mate for life.
  • Mated pairs will also hunt together.
  • They lay 1 to 5 eggs which hatch in about 30 days. Both sexes incubate the eggs.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on an aerial display that both sexes participate in.
  • Red-tailed Hawks are known to have extremely variable plumage, some of that variability is due to geographical regions the Red-tailed Hawks are found in and some variation is because there are light, intermediate (rufous), and dark morphs including Harlan’s Hawks which are darker overall.
  • Their diet includes small mammals including rabbits, jackrabbits, hares, mice, voles, ground squirrels, and rats. They will also consume upland game birds, passerines, lizards, snakes and carrion.
  • Red-tailed Hawks used to be called Chicken Hawks.
  • Red-tailed Hawks can live beyond 21 years


  1. sue Johnson October 29, 2018 at 8:03 am

    Feels like I’m right there with this bird in it’s hunting territory.
    Fantastic shot, Mia!
    Thank you!

  2. Pepe Forte October 26, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Absolutely spectacular shot combined with wonderful narrative. What a gift you have. Thanks Mia.

  3. Margot Rawlins October 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm

    Absolutely stunning. Let your imperfect self out more often.

  4. Elephants Child October 26, 2018 at 2:34 pm

    I am very glad your picky self learned to enjoy this shot.
    I love it from the get go.

  5. Patty Chadwick October 26, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    Love the bird and background…those golden Asoen leaves areca perfect back drop…

  6. Linda Lee October 26, 2018 at 9:15 am

    Stunning shot.

  7. Nikonsteve October 26, 2018 at 8:02 am

    WOW! Great shot….incredible colors.. both bird and foliage…Thank you

  8. Liz Cormack October 26, 2018 at 7:04 am

    OMGosh! The yellow of the leaves makes the Red-tailed Hawk stand out. It’s gorgeous!

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