Red-tailed Hawk Banking At Take-off

This morning I’m off on a new adventure, looking for birds (raptors in particular) in a spectacular area I’ve never visited before so I only have time  for a short post.

In past years I haven’t had great luck with Red-tailed Hawks, even though they’re one of the most common raptors in Utah.  They always seemed to be perched on telephone poles, which makes for an unattractive perch and unacceptably high angle.  Even at take-off I’d generally only get blue sky backgrounds which I don’t find particularly interesting.  But in the last couple of months my fortunes with the species have changed.


red tailed hawk 7499 ron dudley

 1/2500, f 7.1, ISO 500, 500 f/4, natural light, not baited, set up or called in

Yesterday morning this juvenile was sitting on an elevated perch and facing away from me, which didn’t give me high hopes for a take-off shot.  But it spotted potential prey over its shoulder so when it launched it turned back toward me in the process.  I liked the result.  The yellows in the background are sunflowers and blooming rabbitbrush.

I removed a portion of the unattractive perch in the lower right corner of the frame.  Cloning is something I nearly always avoid doing but in this case I made an exception.  I mention it in the interest of full disclosure.

I’ll make another post soon that will also feature this bird but it will have an interesting “twist” from my usual fare.


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