Museum Photos, Part VII — Majestic

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

A brief note.  After today the blog will be on hiatus for a few days.  I’m traveling east beginning tomorrow on business.  With luck I’ll post again next Wednesday evening.

The latin name for the Ferruginous Hawk is Buteo regalis.  Translated, that means “majestic hawk,” and the name is certainly apt.

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It is the largest hawk in North America, weighing between 4 and 5 pounds and with a wingspan that approaches 5 feet.  It is very eagle-like in appearance, with a huge mouth and feather-covered legs.  In fact, some ornithologists advocate reclassifying this magnificent bird as an eagle even it is only about 1/2 the size of a Golden Eagle.

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Ferruginous Hawks winter in the vicinity of Tucson.  They are birds of open country and are most easily found in the agricultural lands of southeastern Arizona.  These birds are stunningly beautiful, with their rust colored backs and outer wings and their snowy breasts and tails.  Up close, they display a breath-taking appearance and color.

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The bird that I’m featuring in these photos is the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum’s Ferruginous Hawk.  She appears each morning in the museum’s Raptor Free Flight demonstration.  Just seeing her up close is worth the drive to the museum and the price of admission.  She is that beautiful.

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I’ve photographed these extraordinary hawks in the field on several occasions.  In the field it’s impossible to get this close to the birds and, consequently, not possible to present images with this degree of detail.  Obviously, too, wild birds are never as relaxed in the presence of humans as this one is so as a general rule it’s impossible to capture the intensity and focus that the museum’s hawk displays.

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Photographing these birds in the field, however, presents an opportunity to capture them in full flight and also, the possibility of photographing a “dark morph” color variant.  Hopefully, I’ll get out and photograph a few individuals in weeks to come.

Photos taken with a Canon 5Diii, 70-200 f4L IS zoom lens, ISO 250, “M” setting, f8 @ 1/1600.


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