Family Ties Finale

Our red tail hawk youngsters have been growing, and growing, and growing during the past two weeks, and testing their flight feathers by going airborne above the nest whenever a good gust of wind blows across the plains. It’s been seven weeks since the first of two eggs were hatched, and both parents have done a spectacular job of tending to the non-stop feeding and nest cleaning. We’ve paid daily visits to the nest to watch these youngsters develop, and this is the final installment in our coverage as they join the ranks of young adults.

First observed late evening flight while Mom hunts dinner.
Next morning, getting a little braver as sibling looks on.
Higher still!
First sibling has made it airborne enough to reach a higher perch, so now it’s time for #2 to get serious about this flying thing.
Here’s how it’s done! We gave this guy the name, “Valiente”, or Brave.
Later that afternoon, Sibling #1 takes to the sky and joins Mom on the nearby telephone pole. Already the youngster appears to be bigger than Mom.
And then there was ONE.
My name for this guy, “El Guason”, the Trickster or Joker.
Stubbornly, our second adolescent would not fly for us that afternoon, and when we returned this morning, he had flown. No worries, we’re just glad to see two healthy young red tail hawks make it safely from the nest.
Mom had been watching me from a nearby pole, and when it was time to brag about a job well done, she made a full circle of where I was standing as a farewell salute. Congratulations, Mom!

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texasflashdude

Photography and Travel, specifically adventure travel and backpacking in remote North America, give me an excuse to stay outside. If kayaks, bikes, backpacks, Jeeps, archeology, geology and wildlife can be included, all the better. Having spent my life working in the fashion and photography industries, I love the unusual, the spectacular, and the beautiful. God has given us a wonderful world in which to live, and I try to open others’ eyes to its wonders. I have shared nearly 50 years of this indescribable wonder with my wife, Jodie, and we go everywhere together. I hope you will share some of our journey with us.

4 thoughts on “Family Ties Finale

  1. Absolutely wonderful. By the time I finished the sequence of photos, I had tears in my eyes. It’s such a marvel, the way these things happen, and marvelous that we can witness them: you in person, and us through your camera. Thank you!

  2. I really try not to get attached to wildlife, because unlike domestic pets, the odds of successfully getting a young wild animal from birth to maturity are so slim, it’s just better to distance yourself from your subjects…however, in this case, we really got emotionally involved with this family, and cheered their success.

  3. Each image taken from about 50 feet away, so as to not interfere with normal behavior, and to not frighten Mom off the nest. I’m using a Canon 5dMkII camera with a 600mm Tamron lens, shot at ISO 800, 1/2400 sec. @ f/6.3 (that’s in case you’re interested in technical data). Thanks for the kind comments. It’s amazing to me how a nest woven from sticks can withstand storms and winds over 50 mph without blowing away, perched on narrow telephone pole crossmembers. An engineering marvel. I love to observe the family dynamics of wildlife, and to do that, you’ve got to watch them over time and tell a story. The wildlife does the rest. Thanks for viewing.

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