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Posts Tagged ‘screaming hawk’

“How can you just leave me standing? Alone in a world that’s so cold?…Why do we scream at each other? This is what it sounds like when hawks cry.” (Apologies to Prince for changing the words of the song “When Doves Cry.”)

On a gray, gloomy day at Huntley Meadows Park,  hawks were crying out all afternoon. One hawk would start to scream and its call would be echoed back from somewhere in the distance. Sometimes I would hear a cry from the cloud-covered sky, but I never got a glimpse of the passing hawks.

I was fortunate to be in the right place when one hawk started crying. From the cry, I knew that the hawk was nearby, but I had trouble locating it as I scanned the trees. Finally I spotted it, a juvenile Red-shouldered Hawk (Buteo lineatus). I snapped off a couple of images and then started to adjust the camera’s settings. I had barely taken the camera from my eye when the hawk took off.

The moment was gone and for a short period of time the marsh was silent.

Red-shouldered Hawk

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Yesterday as I was walking on Roosevelt Island, a National Park in the Potomac River,  I heard a hawk screaming loudly and realized it was pretty close to where it was.

I walked slowly and quietly toward the source of the sound and spotted this hawk almost directly above me in the trees. There were a lot of branches in the way and I had to search to find a visual tunnel to try to get an unobstructed shot of the hawk. The angle was a steep one and gave me a view of the underside of a hawk that I had never had before. In fact, I think that you can see the roof of his open mouth in the first shot.

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The hawk stopped screaming for a little while and I got a shot of him with his mouth closed. It may just be the distortion caused by the steep view angle, but it seems to me that he has an awfully small beak.

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I am having a little trouble identifying this hawk. At first I thought it might be a Red-Shouldered Hawk, but now I am not certain, because it doesn’t quite match any of the photos that I see on-line.  I’d appreciate any help from more experienced bird watchers in figuring out which species I photographed.

After a too short period on this branch, the bird flew off this perch and disappeared from view. I’ll be keeping my eyes out for hawks and hopefully it will be easier to spot them when the leaves fall off of the trees.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I have not seen any hawks at my local marsh for quite some time, so yesterday I was really happy when I heard the unmistakable sound of screaming Red-shouldered hawks (Buteo lineatus). (Check out the sound file on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website if you have never heard the cry of these magnificent birds.)

From the sound of the loud screaming, I could tell that the hawks were not far away and eventually I spotted two of them soaring above the trees. After a few minutes, one of them flew silently into view and landed in a tree across the beaver pond from where I was standing. I suspected that he would not remain very long, so I decided to try to get some shots with the lens that I happened to have on my camera at the time, my Tamron 180mm macro lens, rather than take the time to set up my tripod and change to a longer lens.

Before long, I heard the cries of the other hawk and the one that I was watching took to the air and joined in the screaming. I was a little surprise to see that it flew laterally and downward, but I was able to track it pretty well and got the in-flight shot that you see below.

I was pleased to see that the lens was able to capture a pretty good amount of contrast and detail, even in heavily-cropped images like the two that I am posting. I enjoy the challenge of attempting to capture any birds in flight and look forward to more attempts as we move out of insect season, when my macro lens is use most of the time, into bird season, when I switch to a telephoto lens.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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