Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Don't Point That At Me

Red Tail Youth
This hawk took a while to get to my neighborhood. I spotted him (or her) about a mile away in a tree, then closer on a hay bale, even closer on a power pole, and then...how could he resist? We have acres of bunnies, chickens, gophers and mice.

He chose a power pole on my property as central operations. I spotted him there as I came and went with two bouncy, loud, and fast children. I spotted him outside my window, too. I could even walk outside and watch him, although he didn't stay around very long when I did.

There was one sure fire way to make him leave: point a camera at him.

I find that level of discernment amazing. My husband wonders if anyone tried to shoot him and he associates big, black, metal tubes with scary noises. Being a writer, I wonder if he saw a friend or family member shot. I wonder if he was told by another hawk of the dangers.

I had one chance to get this shot. He saw me, did a poop-shoot (the sure bird sign of I'm-outtta-here), and launched. By chance more than skill, I got the shot. I'm awful with a telephoto.  I can't stand the stress of it!

But because I was not as grateful as I should have been, I immediately decided that one good shot deserved another. When he returned, I stalked the hawk. I snuck around a building, disguised by the wind more than stealth on my part, and found a shot through the tangled branches of a bush.

He was calmly minding his own business. But when he finally spotted me, he gave me stink eye. There was no mistaking that expression. He dropped from the pole, glided up and over me, and circled around in the sky above.

And he hasn't been back since.

I can't blame the hawk, it was rude of me. Nobody likes having someone sneak up on them to take a picture. To the hawk I say, thank you for the picture, for not trying to take down one of my chickens, and for entertaining my kids. I'm sorry I was so impatient. I'm still learning.



This bird is most likely a juvenile light-morph red-tailed hawk. I just finished editing this photo today, and it is now for sale on Fine Art America.

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