Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Juvenile Red-tailed Hawk at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge

Hawks for me are skittish. Probably with good reason, they don't like it much when humans get too close. So, although I see them often enough, the pictures I get are often pretty distant and fuzzy. We were on our way home after Thanksgiving and made a stop at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge near the town of Willows in the northern Great Valley.
There were lots of birds out and about, as this is the big migration season, but some of my favorite shots were of this juvenile Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis). It was perched in a tree only 20 or so feet away from our vehicle. Mrs. Geotripper had to point it out to me because I was focused on distant birds and simply missed it hiding in the foreground!
Actually, It's not such a surprise that I didn't see it right away. The color pattern on its breast was an almost perfect camouflage against the branches and leaves. 
As always, I'm always a bit unsure of my hawk identifications, so I happily accept corrections.


  1. I had a similar experience there on my drive up to Oregon for Thanksgiving. That's not the first time, either. They seem to like those trees on the back side of the auto tour and I guess they're used to the cars because they don't fly away when approached by a vehicle. I've taken my best pictures of red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks there.

  2. What spectacular shots! Nice work, both you and your wife. =) Great point re: camouflage & most excellent photo to illustrate it. =)