21 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos: bald eagle and red-tailed hawk

  1. Dunno if I’m more jealous of your birds or your sunshine. 😀

    (I did have a red-tail here just half an hour ago, but the eternal gloom that’s been this winter discourages one from trying to get a picture.)

    Beautiful as always, Stephen!

    1. Actually, overcast skies are the ultimate softbox. It’s a great time for photography; just look for shots that include little or no sky. Especially have your eye towards closeup shots of colorful things like flowers. Subtle textures, such as in leaves or bark, often render quite well, too.



              1. Ah — that would make sense. Ice-cold water would be preferable to the frozen variety, even if only in a “Well, I’d rather survive waterboarding than drown to death” sense.


  2. There’s such gorgeous detail of individual feathers, especially in the eagle photo.

    I’m trying to decide which of these birds has a more devastating stare. Either way, I sure wouldn’t want to be a small rodent in your neighbourhood!

  3. I knew it was going to happen, but still I didn’t pull out my iPhone and get it ready to record some video. It would only have taken a few seconds, but I didn’t do it. So, there.

    Walking the dog, a blue heeler, on the levee we came across a flock of egret and ibis settled down in one of the retention ponds. Of course, I said, “Go get the birds” and the dog ran down the embankment towards the pond.

    (The birds were far enough away that I could have pulled out my iPhone, just for the record.)

    It was a beautiful evening, clear skies, just after sunset. The sky was a deep blue and the birds were brilliant white. As the dog approached the pond the birds got agitated and began to fly. Almost on command they rose from the pond in a flurry of white wings and yellow beaks against the dark blue sky. Once in flight they swooped back around the dog and towards me higher on the levee. They passed overhead by just a few feet and I could hear the thump-thump of their wingbeats and feel the power of their flight as puffs of air rained down on me.

    The flock wheeled over me, across the stand of sycamore and bamboo on the other side of the levee and towards the ponds on the other side where, hopefully, there weren’t any insensitive dog owners to disturb their rest.

    I looked down the levee and the dog was waiting for me with that, “Come on, dude, we’ve got squirrels to chase” look in his eye. I turned back just in time to see the last of the birds glide down across the trees into the pond on the other side. Thank you, birds, if only squirrels could fly.

  4. This reminded me about the recent eagle deaths in Utah, and it seems that West Nile Virus from dead grebes has just been confirmed as the source of that. I guess good, at least, that it wasn’t some rogue wacko poisoning them, but on the other hand bad that this may spread next season.

  5. I once had a relationship with a darling juvenile red-tailed hawk who used to come look in the window of my lab. The lab’s on the 15th floor and has a small windowsill, on which “Tikal” (my name for it) would perch for hours at a time, peering in through the glass and watching us as we worked and walked around the room.

    I don’t know if Tikal loved the drama of chemistry or was just helping me check up on the progress of my students. Even if you came up and put your nose against the glass, less than an inch from it, it’d stare you down.

    But alas, Tikal grew up and put away childish things, got on with the important business of life and quit dabbling in chemisty. Perhaps when it retires and has time to take up old hobbies, I’ll see it again.

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