Hatch year Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk juvenileRed-tailed Hawk juvenile – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 1000, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VT with 1.4x TC at 264mm, natural light, not baited, called in or set up

Yesterday we met up with Becka on Antelope Island to show her the location where we spotted yet another escaped falconry bird, a female American Kestrel. I’ll write more about the kestrel later. We left for the island later than normal because the light had been awful when we would usually head that way. The light was still bad when we reached the island but there was some clearing to the west of it so there was at least a possibility that there would be enough to get take some images of birds or animals.

After we showed Becka where we found the escaped American Kestrel we drove around looking for her and other raptors south of the Frary Peak turn off. On our way back north I spotted this immature Red-tailed Hawk high up on the rocks on a perch many birds have used as seen by the copious amounts of white-wash. When we drove up the juvenile Red-tail stayed calm as we passed it on the one lane road to get past it for a good light angle.

I certainly didn’t need ISO 1000 to photograph this young hawk, that was a setting I used earlier when the light was low. The hawk didn’t stay long, I only took 8 images of it before it lifted off facing away from us and then less than a minute later we saw it flying low to the ground below us with prey in its bill where it landed to dine on the vole it had captured.

I recall that when I first started photographing the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks in this area back in August that they missed their prey more times than they would capture it and now they seem to have gone the other way, they are catching the prey more than they are missing it.

A lot of people cheer for their favorite team or sports star, me; I’m cheering these young and amazing raptors on!

Mia

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