Red-tailed Hawk — Wing Stretch and Flight

You may enlarge any image in this blog by clicking on it. Click again for a detailed view.

I recently encountered a Red-tailed Hawk perched on a high pole. As I watched the hawk, it stretched out one wing to its full length.

My experience with these birds is that they fairly often go through a stretching routine moments before they take flight. Sure enough, this hawk launched moments after I made this first image. It flew right by me and I was able to capture a second image as it passed me.

Southern Arizona has a resident population of Red-tailed Hawks. These residents are augmented greatly in autumn and winter by migrants from northern habitats. This individual has plumage that is typical of Red Tails from the southwestern United States. However, I cannot say that this is a permanent resident or a migrant. One can drive as far north as Utah and Wyoming, as I did recently, and see hawks with this plumage color and pattern.

Images made with a Canon R5, Canon EF 400mm f4 DO II lens+Canon EF 1.4x telextender, M setting (auto ISO), ISO 1250 (first image), 1000 (second image), f5.6 @ 1/4000, +2/3 stop exposure compensation.

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