Sharp-Shinned HawkJanuary 2005


All the small birds had disappeared, but I noticed "motion" in a thicket. And there he was, a sharp-shinned hawk enjoying a meal.

Photographically speaking, it was a tough situation: The hawk was deep in the bushes, and he only changed positions slightly from time to time. However, after every bite, he looked up, either to the left or right.

After two hours, I gave up. I was never going to have a decent photograph of him except for something like the one below.
Sharp-shinned hawk in thicket
Sue called me about ten minutes later: The hawk settled on a branch of the "feeder" tree and was in clear sight.

I took over twenty magnificent, full-frame photos of him, and the following are reduced for web consideration.

Sharp-shinned hawk nearby
  The tail's squared end identified him as a sharp-shinned hawk (as opposed to a Cooper's hawk), and the tail notch is further identication of sharp-shin.

As any wonderful model, he tried a variety of poses and head turns.
Sharp-shinned hawk, head turn
He kept one foot tucked in his feathers to keep warm, as it was well below freezing that day.

Photo note: I used a Pentax *istD, with the SMC-A* 300mm lens plus a 1.4x multiplier for these photos.

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