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A First For Me, My First Red-Tailed Hawk Portrait


For me, this is a great moment. Today I was able to get my first photographs of a red-tailed hawk. I am a bit embarrassed in admitting it took so long for this to happen but I am glad the wait is finally over. The red-tailed hawk is an extremely common bird but, like many other raptors, seems to be a bit shy when a vehicle slows down in the vicinity of where it is perched. For some reason this one today decided to sit and give me a few moments of posing before it flew off and landed on a nearby power pole.

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A red-tailed hawk giving a slight shake for the camera.

I really didn’t expect to get any shots of this bird today. Actually when I saw it I had to not only turn around on the road I was traveling on but had to stop and pull my camera out of its bag and put the big lens on it. This took a few minutes and I was sure the raptor was going to be gone when I finally got back to where I had seen him. But luck was on my side today, not only was the red-tailed hawk still there but he was sitting on one of my favorite perches to photograph birds on, an old rustic wood fence post.

red-tailed hawk
Red-tailed hawks are very common but this is the first one I have photographed.

I will say, however, there is a part of these photographs I would change if I had the opportunity to photograph him again. The only thing about these images I am not 100 percent happy with is the background. I was in such a hurry I didn’t want to mess around with a few different camera settings so I fired of the shots with what camera settings I had and the aperture wasn’t quite wide enough to really blur the background but all in all I still do like these red-tailed hawk images despite my frenzied haste in not taking the time to do it right.

red-tailed hawk
Perched on an old wooden fence post, a red-tailed hawk gives me a moment to photograph him.

I knew the red-tailed hawk would eventually fly off so I had to take a guess on which direction he would launch in hopes of getting a great flying shot. It was a 50/50 chance and unfortunately despite me giving the image space in-front of the hawk to launch I guessed wrong. It quickly turned and flew off the opposite direction so I missed him taking but no worries. It was still a great day to be able to photograph a red-tailed hawk for the first time on a great perch.

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The red-tailed hawk is such a distinguished bird to photograph.
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