Whatever Weds. Red-tailed Hawk Immature

Copyright ©2021 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Red-tailed Hawks are the most common hawk in North America and certainly the one I see most often. While birding with the birding group a few weeks ago another lady and I veered away from the group a few minutes to check out another path and saw this Red-tail perched with its back to us. It stayed for a good bit then turned and flew right over our heads. That’s when I got this shot. It’s probably a 1st year since it doesn’t have its red tail feathers yet.

Fun Facts- gleaned from allaboutbirds.org

  • The Red-tailed Hawk has a thrilling, raspy scream that sounds exactly like a raptor should sound. At least, that’s what Hollywood directors seem to think. Whenever a hawk or eagle appears onscreen, no matter what species, the shrill cry on the soundtrack is almost always a Red-tailed Hawk.
  • Birds are amazingly adapted for life in the air. The Red-tailed Hawk is one of the largest birds you’ll see in North America, yet even the biggest females weigh in at only about 3 pounds. A similar-sized small dog might weigh 10 times that.
  • The “Harlan’s Hawk” breeds in Alaska and northwestern Canada, and winters on the southern Great Plains. This very dark form of the Red-tailed Hawk has a marbled white, brown, and gray tail instead of a red one. It’s so distinctive that it was once considered a separate species, until ornithologists discovered many individuals that were intermediate between Harlan’s and more typical Red-tailed Hawks.
  • Courting Red-tailed Hawks put on a display in which they soar in wide circles at a great height. The male dives steeply, then shoots up again at an angle nearly as steep. After several of these swoops he approaches the female from above, extends his legs, and touches her briefly. Sometimes, the pair grab onto one other, clasp talons, and plummet in spirals toward the ground before pulling away.
  • Red-tailed Hawks have been seen hunting as a pair, guarding opposite sides of the same tree to catch tree squirrels.
  • The oldest known wild Red-tailed Hawk was at least 30 years, 8 months old when it was found in Michigan in 2011, the same state where it had been banded in 1981.

The Scrub Jays here mimic the Red-tail Hawk’s call and has been fooling me a lot lately! I’ve been listening to calls so I’m not so easily fooled next time. Ha!!😂

After the group broke up I headed east in search of another bird, but had no joy finding it but, the river was pretty. I saw a few mallards, and Yellow-rumped Warblers and people so headed home for lunch.

Truckee River Bend

The image of the Red-tail looks so bad here on WordPress! I’m beyond frustrated with this happening all the time. I haven’t changed the way I process and resize my images in a decade so it must be WordPress! I need a tutorial! Any help or pointers would be greatly appreciated.

My images look fine and the way I want them to on flickr. Here’s the link to the same image of the Red-tail. https://www.flickr.com/photos/dmzajac2004/51529739409/in/dateposted/

See what I mean? I’m really not happy with WordPress at the moment! Any ideas for a not savvy computer person to fix it?

Fuji X-T3| Fujinon 100-400mm| PS CC 22.5| iPhone 7Plus

more to come…

Wild Wednesday 8/52 Hawk

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

While out birding in Central Valley last month I saw lots of Red-tailed Hawks. This one was happy to pose for me. 🙂 At least I think this one is a Red-tailed Hawk.

Hawk

Red-tailed Hawks are quite common here. Their habitat is wide open fields. They like to perch in trees along fields, fence posts, and telephone poles.

Their Behavior- from All About Birds:

“You’ll most likely see Red-tailed Hawks soaring in wide circles high over a field. When flapping, their wing beats are heavy. In high winds they may face into the wind and hover without flapping, eyes fixed on the ground. They attack in a slow, controlled dive with legs outstretched – much different from a falcon’s stoop.”~allaboutbirds.org

They’re so common here I almost take them for granted. I’m always hoping to spy other types of Hawks instead of them, but when there are none about I’m so happy they’re here.

Sunday, I planned to go out to do some photography at the coast, but the wind was blowing 20-25 mph, and it was cold and gray, so I stayed in and watched Season 1 of Monk. Guess who found Streampix? 🙂 I hadn’t ever watched that show before, but I really like it. I’ll be watching every season til I am caught up. Yep, I’m hooked. 🙂

Recently I’ve also binged watched Vikings, and Camelot.  Those are two more T.V. shows I’m now Jonesing for the next season to begin already!

I’m currently reading A Dead Guy at the Summerhouse by Marian Allen who I discovered here on WordPress via Thursday Doors. You can find her here.  She writes Sci-fi stuff too. Yeah, she’s right up my street. 🙂 Check her out if you enjoy reading these genres too.

So, what are birds are seeing in your neighborhood, what are watching and reading right now?

Nikon D810| Nikkor 200-500mm| Hoodman Digital Film

more to come…

Wordless Wednesday 7/52

Copyright ©2017 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Red-tailed Hawk

Red-tailed Hawk

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2017

More to come…

Monochrome Madness 2 46/52 Red-tailed Hawk

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This is my entry for Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 2 this week.

Another Red-tail from a birding expedition.  We seem to have more Red-tails than any other Hawk. 🙂

Monochrome Madness 2 47 of 52 Red tailed Hawk

To see all the entries this week click here.

Nikon D700| Nikkor 200-500mm| Lexar Digital Film

More to come…

Red-tailed Hawk 2

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

This Red-tail is from a couple of weeks back.  My friend and I were birding in San Luis National Wildlife Refuge and nearing the end of one of the auto-routes when we spotted it high in the tree.  I was driving and didn’t think I’d get a decent photograph of it because it was on the passenger side of the car/road, and climbing over the console and gear box wasn’t something I wanted to do.

Red-tail Hawk

We had the route nearly to ourselves so I thought I’d pull the car caddy-whompus across the road and shoot leaning into the passenger seat.  I was able to get several images of it before another car came up and I had to move.

It is striking isn’t it with its white cap and that gaze?

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR| Lexar Digital Film| PS CC 2015

Red-tail Hawk with Prey

Copyright ©2016 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Warning!: Some may find these images too graphic!

While birding a couple of weeks ago in the Sacramento Valley we spotted this Red-tail Hawk having lunch on a levy about 25-30ft away from us.  It spotted us too.  It didn’t like the way we kept staring while it was trying to eat so…
Red tail Hawk with meal

…it picked up its meal…

Red-tailed Hawk with Prey in Flight

…and flew to a tree stump that offered a bit more privacy.

Red tail with prey on tree stump

We watched it eat for a couple of minutes then slowly drove away leaving it to enjoy its meal.

The second image with the Red-tail in flight has a bit of motion blur. I was hand-holding the lens and not used to its weight and think it was me being a wobbly rather than a slight pan.  The eye is pretty sharp, and the blur gives it a sense of movement I like enough to save, and share it.

I was also racked out to 500mm and I didn’t frame up the shot giving the bird enough room to fly out of the frame, so I extended the canvas a bit then added in some of the background to give the bird some room to fly out of the frame, and fix the composition.  There’s a learning curve to  all new lenses; getting used to the weight, and bulkiness -it’s a chubby lens, and framing with it will be what I strive to master in the coming years.

I liked the lens so much I bought one right after I returned the rental lens.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 200-500mm VR (rental lens)| Lexar Professional Digital Film| PS CC 2015

More to come…

Red-Tailed Hawk: light morph

Copyright © 2012 Deborah M. Zajac. All Rights Reserved.

Several friends and I went out to Central CA to a National Wildlife Refuge to see if any Sandhill Cranes or Snow Geese had arrived and photograph them.

While on the auto-tour we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk on a post. We had a good vantage point to photograph it so we all started framing and firing our cameras which spooked him.

It was just what we hoped for. We all got some really nice shots of him taking off, and flying low in the marsh grass.

Lift off!

 

Wings up…

 

Downward flap

I needed  help identifying this Red-tail. My National Geographic bird book isn’t very clear on the Light and Dark Morphs. Thanks to my friend Dali for I.D.ing it for me. Since then I’ve purchased a new bird guide-book:  Stokes Field Guide to the Birds of North America. Between the two books I hope to be able to ID birds more easily.

Nikon D300s| Nikkor 80-200@ 200mm + Tamron 1.4x Teleconverter| f7.1| 1/2000sec| ISO 640| Manual Priority| Hand-held