Raptors Watching People

by Larry on November 21, 2010

Red-tailed Hawk Looking Past Me photos by Larry Jordan

The weather was suppose to be cold and wet according to the weather person (like they really know).  I checked weather.com Friday night and it said there would be a break in the storm in the morning with rain returning in the afternoon.  It was sprinkling at my house at 5 am but I was ready to go.  After all, Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge is only an hour and a half from my front door.

It was cold and windy but the sun broke through for part of the day and it calmed down before the real storm hit at about 2:30 in the afternoon.

As I left the parking lot at the visitors center, within the first five minutes of my auto tour, a Peregrine Falcon flew across the road in front of me!  Well, there’s a good omen, I said to myself.  As I drove about another half a mile, I noticed a small raptor sitting in a snag a couple hundred yards off the road.  It was the Peregrine.

And then, there were two.  They were making very loud vocalizations as they displayed their amazing aerial attributes.  This collage is the best I could do with the conditions and the distance but I hope you get the idea of what an incredible show it was!

Later on I got a shot of an adult Peregrine watching me

This is one of my favorite things about raptors.  They look you right in the eye.  You can feel a real connection with them, even though they usually seem more curious than interested in what you are doing.

Maybe they just like to people watch, like this Red-shouldered Hawk that was so well hidden, I had a tough time getting this photo.

Unlike the Red-tailed Hawk at the top of the post that actually kept getting closer to me as I sat in my car, clicking away.

One of the two Great Horned Owls I spotted was in and out of view as the wind blew the branches back and forth across his resting place.  He was watching me like a hawk.

Here’s looking at you kid!  For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly.

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