Hawk’s predictable habits lead to up-close, dramatic flight photo

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, Massachusetts, December 26, 2014, 2:07 p.m., by Kim Caruso
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary, Topsfield, Massachusetts, December 26, 2014, 2:07 p.m., by Kim Caruso

Kim Caruso watched a Red-tailed Hawk for a whole month last winter, so she knew its tendencies. It hunted regularly in three large fields at the Ipswich River Wildlife Sanctuary north of Boston and used bluebird nest boxes as perches. On the day after Christmas, she watched it for four hours and made this photo, which she posted to our U.S. and Canada Gallery.

Kim Caruso
Kim Caruso

Caruso is a small-animal veterinarian from Ipswich, Massachusetts. She took her first photos of birds in January 2014, during the Snowy Owl invasion, and became hooked during last spring’s warbler migration. She subscribes to a digital edition of BirdWatching and shares photos in our galleries. In August 2014, we featured her head-on shot of a Least Tern as a Photo of the Week.

“The hawk had captured and eaten a meadow vole less than 20 feet from where I was standing, so I took my camera off the tripod to kneel and shoot handheld at eye level,” she says. “It was positioned at the edge of a field, so I knew, when it flew, it would initially head in my direction before choosing its next bluebird box to perch on. This was the third image in a series I shot during takeoff. Since it was so close, this is a full-frame photo with very little cropping.”

Caruso used the following equipment and settings to take the photograph:

Camera: Canon 7D
Lens: Canon EF 300mm f/2.8L IS with 1.4x teleconverter
Settings: 1/3200, f/4, ISO 500, Tv mode
Light: Natural
Format: RAW converted to JPG
Adjustments: Minimal cropping and sharpening

Originally Published

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