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Feeding in the Front Yard

My daughter and I, were just returning from dropping off my son a birthday party, and we were just getting out of the car and heading into the house.

As I was opening up the front door with my keys, I noticed out of the corner my eye something on the lawn, and a focused on the object.

I was startled to realize, that I was looking at an immature Red-tailed Hawk, standing in the middle my front yard, eating something.

Daddy photo of Madison on iPods 01
Daddy photo of Madison on iPods 01

I motioned to my daughter to get her attention, and then to be quiet, by putting my finger to my lips with one hand, and pointing to the direction of interest with my other hand.

Seconds later, there was this very quiet – “That’s cool!”

Madison photo of Daddy on iPods 01
Madison photo of Daddy on iPods 01

What was even more astonishing, was the bird did not seem to care at all about what was going on around it.

Cars drove up and down the street, people open and close doors, and dogs barked, which did draw some attention, but not what you would expect for a bird on the ground.

As Madison and I continued to look at the hawk, out of the corner of our eyes, we saw my wife’s vehicle coming down the hill, and as the van approached, Madison ran to warn my wife to be quiet.

Immature Red-tailed Hawk 017
Immature Red-tailed Hawk 017

I took this opportunity, to run into the house and grab my camera!

When I returned, Amy and Madison were watching the hawk, and I started to take pictures.

Again I was amazed with the docileness of the creature as it stood there and feed.

As I took more pictures, I soon realized that Madison had returned with her iPod, and was taking pictures, and I was able to direct her into taking pictures of me, taking pictures of the bird, and I soon returned the favor!

Immature Red-tailed Hawk 083 - Head Detail
Immature Red-tailed Hawk 083 – Head Detail

At one point, I was on my stomach, and I had crawled within about 8 feet of the hawk, with my 70-300 mm lens, and was able to get some really nice portraits of our bird.

After a few more minutes, I suggested that we go inside, and allow our friend to eat in peace.

As we walked into the house, Madison asked, “Can we call him ‘Mr. Hawking’?”

Updates

10/6/2012 – With some help from local bird photographers, Mike Mill, and his father, Mike Blue Mill, helped to identify this beautiful creature as an immature Red-tailed Hawk. One of the reasons that we were able to get so close was because it is so young, and does not know to fear humans.

Additional Images

– Andrew
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By Andrew

A Father, Photographer and Computer Geek living in Chester County (PA).

My Photo Journal of images taken in Chester and Lancaster Counties, including Covered Bridges, Barns, Nature, Fine Art and Events. Images can also be found on VisitPA.com and ExplorePATrails.com.