I had an opportunity to get up close and personal with a juvenile red-tailed hawk.
They are magnificent creatures.
both up close and in the sky,

although I far prefer to see them flying free.
We have three juvenile hawks in Holler skies now.
They fly closer to us than the adults,
Red Tails don’t develop the characteristic red-tail until their first year molt,

and their feather colors can vary from quite dark to very light.
Cheers to you from the Red-Tail-Kids~

217 thoughts on “Red-Tail-Kids~

    1. The juveniles are especially interesting because they come closer and are more interactive, ie., they call back and forth with you if you imitate their calls well.

  1. Great pictures! And mystery solved – on a few occasions (when I didn’t have a camera handy) I’ve seen a large unidentified hawk. Doing research latter I couldn’t figure it out. Well, it’s because most pictures are of adults – they were juvenile redtails.

    1. Yes, it is very confusing! Add on to the variation in color and the similarities with Swainsons Hawks and Ferriginous Hawks, and it is very easy to mix them up! I do it all the time~

    1. You and I understand each other Rebecca. I just found out my Barton are relatives settled all over Canada. I knew about Nova Scotia but not about the extent of their Canadian expansion. No wonder I love Canada so much and keep going back every year, and no wonder you and I share many similar values. We are probably related!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. Absolutely fabulous! How I envy you to be in such close proximity of something so beautiful. We had a buzzard come calling at our bungalow, who was rather partial to smoked bacon. He’d sit on our front wall by the kitchen window and stare in. We called him Claude, and always recognised him in flight as he had a notch in his wing.

      1. His preferred perch was on a lamp post that was in line of sight of our property. I threw some rind out for some other birds, and he just swooped on it. I’ve got pictures of him somewhere on our garage roof, and managed to get within several feet of him. We came home one day and he was sitting on our fence post, but we think someone frightened him away as for no reason at all he stopped coming, though we could identify him when he was in flight so knew he was OK. He had some beautiful markings.

      2. Isn’t this amazing and wonderful. Essentially you developed a relationship with a wild creature that knew you and trusted you. Wild animals are so much smarter than we want to acknowledge. They do assessments of people and behave towards them in accordance with this assessment. I think being trusted by a wild creature has to be one of the biggest honors on our planet.

  3. How wonderful to get to see this gorgeous hawk this close. Magnificent photos of the hawk in flight! The clarity is incredible… Thank you for sharing with us, Cindy! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Amazing photos… the red tails frequent our neighborhhood… I see them enjoying the thermals way up high… but they won’t come down to my level for a photo!

    1. Aren’t they amazing when they do this! They hang motionless, buffeted and held in place by the wind. Spectacular! This is what the hawk in photo 4 is doing.

  5. They are magnificent creatures. Right next door from my residence, a whole community of red-tail hawks roost up on 500 ft. Mt. Solo. They ride the updrafts which sweep over the steep slopes from the Pacific Ocean. There’s lots of other raptors here too, like Cooper’s hawks, several species of falcons and owls, bald eagles, and a somewhat unwelcome newcomer – a few golden eagles. These latter arrivals regularly steal food from red-tails in mid-flight (the aerial dogfights are spectacular to watch), and they nearly attacked me once.

    1. Oh is sounds like heaven for raptor lovers like me! We have the Coopers and falcons too, great horned owls, and now two bald eagles. No Goldens which I would love to see more of. When I see the red-tails get harrassed, I take much umbrage at this!! Especially when the murders of ravens go after them. I have to remind myself not to take sides!!! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜‰

  6. Phenomenal photos! We have some hawks that nest every year on our land – they are the noisiest neighbors! And I do have to keep an eye on our little dog, who would be a morsel for one of them.

    1. Yes, your doggie would be in danger. I notice the juveniles are especially noisy. They are constantly calling back and forth and crying. They will call back and forth with you too, if you join in!

  7. I have these beauties living in my neighborhood. I’m in a small town in the mid-Atlantic where mature trees and a preserve are nearby. They’ve even come into my garden to hunt. They are remarkable. Great images…

    1. I am so glad to find red-tail hawk appreciaters. They have been so maligned and hunted for no good reason. They are just magnificent creatures to watch and I am happy you are able to do this!

    1. Thank you Resa. Heading up to Canada soon, the west coast, to hang out with the fuzzy-wuzzy-grizzly bears!!! Can’t wait. Hope you are on a break now from your movie~

  8. Wow to the beauty of the birds and your skill getting the aerial photos. It seems whenever I get one in frame they dive and oops lost the shot again.

    1. Laughing, yes! There is this exercise I used to do in groups called, “What’s the worst you call yourself?” to help people become aware of how they may unconsiously put themselves down and who these messages may have come from. When I am messing up bird in-flight photos, these messages are flying through my brain like lightening! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  9. Cindy, these are so beautiful, absolutely stunning photographs. I’ve never seen the underside of the wings, such detail and graceful. The most evocative ones though I find are those close to the head, the hawk’s eye studying, as if looking straight into ones soul. Thank you so much for sharing!

    1. The hawk-eye that penetrates to the human soul. Beautiful, and so true too! They do look at you as if they are seeing the core of you. Many wild creatures do this. Thank you for articulating this so beautifully Annika~

  10. Used to have to rescue these guys (red-shouldered/red-tailed) first few broods in our yard were successful, then the babies didn’t branch…one time momma and daddy had five babies…first dad disappeared…then poor momma.

    1. Were you successful at rehabbing them or did you call wild life rescue? I know the mortality rate for fledglings is astromically high, which is why it is unusual to see three juveniles in the sky at once. I sincerely hope they all make it and start breeding.

  11. We had red-tails living in the ‘hood a couple of years ago. A young’un perched on our roof dived at my head as I walked out the backdoor but flew away when he saw a larger body attached. Thank goodness I didn’t get taloned.

    1. Exciting isn’t it!! My physician got dive bombed twice. He made the national news the first time and required many stiches. Essentially he walked repeatedly under a nest during breeding season. I remember being dived bombed by harrier hawks in Patagonia and just laughing with such exhiliration. I was prepared with a hat and long sleeves and glasses, plus I ducked and got the heck out of Dodge. They do give you warning dives which the prudent respect. If they catch you unaware, it would definitely get your full attention!

    1. You are so smart Graham! You have goshawks flying around and other raptors, so you can’t be too careful! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Did you ever read the book, “Hawk,” by a Cambridge lit prof? It was about her efforts training a Goshawk in the UK. It is a phenomonal read.

    1. Yes, their cries are so distinctive and you can join in if you choose and if they know who you are. The juveniles are even more vocal and have yet to develop the adult cadenced cry~

      1. I love our avian friends๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜˜we have some tuxedo birds (who like to take a swim in our pool๐Ÿ˜น) I’ve been trying to photograph for weeks now but they r apparently camera shy–guess they loathe the paparazzi๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ˜ฑ

  12. That is so cool that you get a chance to get close to this magnificent bird. I would love to see that close and even want to hold it ( I am sure that is too far). Beautiful shots of the flying ones.

  13. Such splendid creatures!! And you’ve got some dandy photos here, Cindy. Gee, just looking at those claws and beaks makes me shudder, ha!

  14. The last photo makes it look fierce and angry, like he’d rather rip out your eye than look at you. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve never seen them up real close. The pictures are amazing shots, and they seem like powerful birds.

    1. Even “trained” raptors never lose their wildness. They never warm up to being a pet with a person. At the most they are indifferent to their captors, but I sensed some hatred there too. They want to be free. In the sky, living free, they can be very interested in a person as long as the person lives in their territory without many other people to annoy them.

  15. Beautiful plumage! Thanks for these close-up images. They remind me of the time I spent up close to Red Tail Hawks and other raptors when I volunteered at a rehabilitation center. The other times I’ve seen them close up is when I was high up in the mountains. The seem to fly so low but then I had to remind myself that it only seems this way because I was high up in elevation! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Your rehab work must have been fascinating and I love the description of meeting them at higher altitude. I never thought of this, but The Holler is on a mountain, so the raptors are often flying at eye level, which maybe why they come closer to us.

    1. You should hear the hawk’s talk when I mock their squawks, this would really make you gawk! โŠ™ โŠ™๏ปŒ๏ปŒ๏ปŒ๏ปŒ(*โ—Ž๏ฝ–โ—Ž*)

  16. I wondered when I’d hear about the red-tails, Cuz. This/these young-uns are simply gorgeous. Were they at a vet’s office or a falconry ? ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Good guesses. It’s a guy who trains hawks and uses them to control seagulls at local businesses. He also flies with them while para-sailing above Black’s Beach in La Jolla and films it!

  17. Hawk is one of my totems. I just love the raptors. We only have Pueo owls and the I’o or Hawaiian hawk here. I miss the range of raptors on the mainland US, but not enough to return ;*( Aloha, Cindy.

  18. Those red tail kids are so cute, Cindy. Their eyes look so clever and expressive. I know they are scary with powerful beak and claws. I think they sense how we feel, like horses and dogs do. What a wonderful set of photos! ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Querida amiga, me han parecido impresionantes tus fotos. La profesiรณn de “halconero” nos transporta a la Edad Media en que los “seรฑores” utilizaban los halcones para sus juegos y cacerรญas. ยกQuรฉ bonito pรกjaro!, y quรฉ elegante vuelo. Me alegra que lo hayas disfrutado y que lo compartas con nosotros. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Leave a Reply