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Red-tailed Hawk

April 14, 2014
Red-tailed Hawk perched on tree branch

Red-tailed Hawk overlooking Rockport Harbor

Keeping A Close Watch

New England is home to some wonderful wildlife. Birds of prey, such as the Red-tailed Hawk, can often be seen soaring high overhead. No one was more surprised than I then to spot this beauty perched on a branch in a tree on the other side of Rockport Harbor.

I had driven down into town and parked my car on T-Wharf. As I exited my car, I noticed several photographers pointing both fingers and cameras at something across the harbor. Squinting, I could see their subject of interest. This beautiful Red-tailed Hawk. Equipped with my 70-200 f/2.8 lens, I knew the distance across the harbor was much further than I wanted to capture a detailed image.

Local Advantage

As a resident of Rockport, Massachusetts, one of the perks of being a local is knowing the area surrounding the harbor. I decided to walk around the harbor to the boat ramp. Doing so would bring me into much closer proximity to the hawk. My biggest challenge would be to avoid spooking him.

The Bird Whisperer

I have pretty good luck with animals allowing me to approach them. This hawk was no exception. As soon as the hawk spotted me, I began gently speaking to him. He cautiously watched me approach. I took my cues from him and maintained a respectful distance until I sensed he was fairly comfortable with me. I continued to speak to him in a soft voice as I gradually moved closer.

As you can see, he obliged my consideration by striking quite a regal pose. Respect definitely has its rewards.

Photo Info:

Camera:  Nikon D300
Lens:  Nikkor 70-200mm
Exif Data:  1/800s, f/5.6, ISO 200, 200mm

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~ Liz Mackney

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