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Canon 7D
Canon 400mm f/5.6L

@ ISO 320, f/5.6, Av, 400mm, handheld, spot-metering, +2/3 over exposed.

PROVES YOU DO NOT “NEED” IS to get amazing pictures.

The story with this picture is incredible. It’s too long to type. If you wanna know just ask.

Let’s just say I was 12 ft. away.

Rock Valley College campus.
Rockford Illinois, United States of America

Featured in:
“High Quality Animal Images”
“Live and Let Live”
“Good News Group – Sharing and Caring”
“Miniatures and Mammoths”
“Closeups of Nature”

Top Ten Winner:
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329 Views as of August 3, 2010

Favored 25 times


The Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a bird of prey, one of three species colloquially known in the United States as the “chickenhawk,” though it rarely preys on chickens[citation needed]. It breeds throughout most of North America, from western Alaska and northern Canada to as far south as Panama and the West Indies, and is one of the most common buteos in North America. Red-tailed Hawks can acclimate to all the biomes within its range. There are fourteen recognized subspecies, which vary in appearance and range. It is one of the largest members of the genus Buteo in North America, typically weighing from 690 to 1600 grams (1.5 to 3.5 pounds) and measuring 45–65 cm (18 to 26 in) in length, with a wingspan from 110 to 145 cm (43 to 57 in). The Red-tailed Hawk displays sexual dimorphism in size, with females averaging about 25% heavier than males.

The Harlan’s Hawk (B. j. harlani), often considered a separate species, is treated below in the Taxonomy section.

The Red-tailed Hawk occupies a wide range of habitats and altitudes, including deserts, grasslands, coniferous and deciduous forests, tropical rainforests, agricultural fields and urban areas. It lives throughout the North American continent, except in areas of unbroken forest or the high arctic. It is legally protected in Canada, Mexico and the United States by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Because they are so common and easily trained as capable hunters, the majority of hawks captured for falconry in the United States are Red-tails. Falconers are permitted to take only passage hawks (which have left the nest, are on their own, but are less than a year old) so as to not affect the breeding population. Adults, which may be breeding or rearing chicks, may not be taken for falconry purposes and it is illegal to do so. Passage red-tailed hawks are also preferred by falconers because these younger birds have not yet developed adult behaviors, which can make training substantially more challenging.

The Red-tailed Hawk also has significance in Native American culture. Its feathers are considered sacred by some tribes, and are used in religious ceremonies.


  • Nicole DeFord
    Nicole DeFordover 4 years ago

    I’m grossed out and amazed at the same time! :D This is a really awesome picture! How on earth, did you manage to be only twelve feet away?!!

  • Haha thanks :] I was on my college’s campus and I walked outside and saw a crow going nuts and then this hawk was chasing the crow and the crow was nipping at the hawk.

    Then the hawk sat on a building and I took some pics then it took off and grabbed a mouse and fly into this tree. It started eating it and I ran over where poeple were standing and I, unlike anyone else walked slowly up to the hawk and took this shot. :]

    Overall I took over 200 shots of the hawk. I have about 10 amazing pictures but I don’t want to put them all up haha.

    But thank you soo very much Nicole :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Grandalf
    Grandalfover 4 years ago

    fantastic image of a real natural highlight, so well captured, awesome

  • WOOT AWESOME! THANK YOU Grandalf :] Very very much. I always have my camera at school and today it paid off :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Michael Cummings
    Michael Cummingsover 4 years ago

    Beautiful capture Erik, well done :-)

  • AWESOME! Thank you soo much! You should have seen me running around campus like a loser haha, but it was most certainly worth it :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Gary Lengyel
    Gary Lengyelover 4 years ago

    What a great capture Erik! And only 12’ away. Lucky you!

  • Thanks Gary! :] Yeah, I was shaking the whole time. I mean there were alot of people there on campus. He was about 10-15 ft. in a tree and people were surround part of tree about 15-20 ft back and I figured, hey, do whatever to get the shot and I creeped up farther. I would have gone more but my 400 5.6 focuses only with a minimun of 11.5 feet. :[ but thank you :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Moorey
    Mooreyover 4 years ago

    great find, capture and story

  • Woo! thank you :] The story is super epic in detail but it’s too long haha but thank you :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Joy Leong-Danen
    Joy Leong-Danenover 4 years ago

    Erik what an exciting moment!! eeep he sure looks mean… Well done!

  • Ohh it was pretty intense. I took over 200 shots and I have some that are alot more grotesque than this haha but I really liked this one. I just can’t believe the green hanging out of it’s mouth is part of the mouse! And thank you :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • CarolM
    CarolMover 4 years ago

    Fabulous!! A National Geographic image!!!!

  • Ohh wow! thank you :] haha that made my day! Thanks Carol!

    – Erik Anderson

  • snapdecisions
    snapdecisionsover 4 years ago

    Who needs IS ! , Its just another irritating element , Trev

  • I love IS like on our 300 2.8IS like for shooting for night football and indoor sports and shooting the moon haha, but all it gives it +2 stops of light. i look at it as, once you live without it you become so much better. So ditto to that comment! :]

    – Erik Anderson

  • Joy Leong-Danen
    Joy Leong-Danenover 4 years ago

    arrghhh! I’d have been torn between watching in awe and trying to capture shots of the gruesome meal

  • haha cool! Yeah it was pretty intense, I have a pic that is unfortunately a little soft where he is devouring the entire mouse.

    – Erik Anderson

  • Chuck Gardner
    Chuck Gardnerover 4 years ago
    I’m Sorry, Erick, I deleted this Great image before I revalorized it had a locations which I saw in your other shot of it you submitted.. Will you please resubmit it to Wild Nature Photography & Writing and I will accept it… Chuck Gadrner
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