Red-tailed Hawk – My favorite raptor


One of my favorite targets when I go hunting with my camera, is the Red-tailed Hawk.  I love all the raptors, but this one always makes me excited when I see one.  Then, I am all over myself, trying to get that special image.

Yesterday, I got another opportunity.  Cruising by the water at Spring Creek Park we spotted this Red-tailed Hawk across the water, about 150 yards away.  I wheeled the car around so my driver’s side would be directly across from his perch in a tree.

I put my SafariSack, a large bean-bag window rest, on the sill and rested my Canon 7D Mk II and Tamron 150-600mm lens on it.  As I focused in and started to press the shutter, he flew off the my left.  I continued to press the shutter as I did a quick pan.  I got off about ten shots in the space of two seconds.  This image is the only one of him that was completely within the frame, and even then he was in the upper left of the image.  I had to crop roughly 40 percent to get this composition.

The remarkable thing about it, my shutter speed was only 1/640 sec. At an aperture of f8 and the ISO at 250, it turned out to be an amazingly sharp photo.  I believe it to be one of my best of a Red-tailed Hawk.  This is pretty much how it came out of the camera.  No adjustments needed except for a minor touch-up with FocusMagic.  Did I ever tell you how much I love my Canon 7D Mark II?

Red-tailed Hawk in flight.

Red-tailed Hawk

This morning Ann and I took a quick trip out there again.  Really cold, about 32° when we got there.  No raptors, save for a Cooper’s Hawk that did a flyover.

I did get a few small bird photos.  This juvenile White-crown Sparrow decided to show me his back-side.

White-crown Sparrow - juvenile

White-crown Sparrow – juvenile

An American Goldfinch perched on a tree branch a few feet away from the car.

American Goldfinch

American Goldfinch

The Gray Catbird is still hanging around, too.  This image as he was spotted deep in the brush.

Gray Catbird

Gray Catbird

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13 thoughts on “Red-tailed Hawk – My favorite raptor

  1. Not sure where in Texas you live, but if you invest a very few dollars in some live chickens for the yard, the chances of photographing a Red-Tail up close will increase by a factor of 10…LOL

    My aunt and uncle live just across the hill from me, they had a very small farm, and the Red-Tail hawks are always close by.

    Great photo of your hawk by the way.

    • We live in west central Texas, about 90 miles southwest of Abilene. We live in a residential area so no chickens. However, it isn’t that difficult to see Red-tailed Hawks. Sometimes hard to get close, though, but I have my long lens. Thanks for the compliment, Raven.

  2. Bob, I have never seen a better shot of a Red-tailed Hawk, or any other bird. I would say you could win a couple of prizes by entering it in competitions. I saw the doctor today and he said my lungs have completely cleared up. That was music to my ears. So, Irmgard and I hope your offer is still open to go birding with you and Ann. John

    >

    • Thanks, John, for your glowing compliment. I really appreciate it. We haven’t forgotten you. We have been busy, and it seems that all of it has fallen on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. We will definitely be in touch in a few days. I am glad your lungs have cleared up. Bob.

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