Tale of the Take – Hawk Hatchlings

A friend of mine, Ken Coley, told me of a Red-tailed Hawk‘s nest that was on private property out near Dove Creek.  Fortunately, he knew the owners  of the property and he arranged to take me out there to check it out.

We arrived late in the afternoon and the temperature was about 95 degrees.  We drove in and parked near the peoples’ house.  Ken says that we can walk to the tree, and we’ll be able to see the nest.  I decided to just carry my 100-400mm lens setup.  It was about a 500 yard walk, but when we got there, I discovered the nest was about 70 feet high up in a pecan tree.  To get the shot, I needed to get about 100 feet away in another direction to get in the proper light.  The 100-400mm wasn’t going to do the job.

I hiked back to the van and this time I decided to drive in a little closer.  I was able to get within about 50 feet of the tree and park near other trees so it wouldn’t be a distraction.  I then was able to set up my tripod to enable me to mount my 500mm lens on my Canon 7D.  This particular shot that I have posted here was taken with my 1.4X teleconverter attached.  I also took a few exposures with the 2X teleconverter.  I must use manual focus with the 2X because of aperture restrictions with that setup.  Also, because of the shade over the nest I had to adjust the EV to +2/3.

But I must say, that 2X done an amazing job.  After printing two 8x10s, I could not tell the difference between the photo taken with the 2X and the cropped version with the 1.4.  These Canon L series lenses continue to amaze me.

Anyway, as you can see, those little hatchlings are real cuties.  I intend to go back in week or two and see if they are large enough to be standing on the edge of the nest.  You can click on the photo to see an enlargement.

  • Canon 7D
  • Canon 500mm IS lens w/1.4 teleconverter
  • Aperture Priority
  • 1/1000 sec. @ f10
  • ISO 3200
  • EV +2/3
  • Partial metering