This Red Tailed Hawk has just captured a North American Robin, and is protecting its catch from a rival perched nearby. I had parked my car on a road adjacent the Fraser River in Delta, British Columbia, Canada, to photograph foraging songbirds, including robins, when I heard a cacophany of hawk calls, and soon witnessed this scene. I was actually unaware that the hawk had prey in its grasp until I uploaded the images to my computer. This image was captured using a Nikon D700, 600 mm lens with a 1.4 teleconverter, mounted on a Gitzo monopod with the ISO set at 800, white balance set at 5500, the aperture at 6.3, and the shutter speed at 1/1000 of a second.
The North American robin is a very common songbird in this area, and is beginning to return from its winter migration. Because they occur in vast numbers, they are a favourite prey for raptors. The red tailed hawk is the largest hawk to inhabit this area.