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Bird watching is my happy place

baby taking flight

August 7

One baby spotted in the alley near the nesting area. No photos.

baby on a wire

August 9

It seems like this is all I ever see Mama doing: scolding me. Whether from the air or on a pole or tree, this seems to be the norm with her and me for some reason.

mama hawk scolding

August 10

First day confirming that there are 3 babies this year. Lots and lots of photos taken because you never know if those opportunities will ever come around again.

They were playfully hanging out on a rooftop and on the power poles in the area.

baby in the grass

August 11

Another fun day visiting the babies. I spent some time watching them get their footing on rooftops, power lines, fences and down on the ground in the grass.

Such a privilege to be able to sit and watch these juveniles become the majestic birds of prey that they are.

baby running in the grass

August 12

Another day watching a couple of the babies in the grass and on the wires.

Also, it will never not be funny to me watching these birds run.

3 babies on a pole

August 13

No baby pictures today. But I almost got some good shots of Mama hawk flying overhead… almost but not quite.

baby calling out

August 14

Another calm and sunny day to go hawk watching. For the longest time I’ve wanted to get one of the babies’ downy feathers that they pluck out. It looks like I’ll be waiting another year for that treasure!

I’ve been watching the lighter coloured baby a lot. Or rather, this particular bird happens to be around a lot when I’ve been out to the area. And to be honest, some of the photos I have of this one hawk are some of the best I have ever taken.

I also try to get as many pictures as I can of the 3 of them together.

baby on a post

August 16

Another day in the same area as 2 days ago. Same light-coloured baby. Another fabulous day of taking photos of this fabulous bird.

I took some video also but without my tripod, therefore the footage is clear but shaky. I will work on the best ones to see if I can smooth things out.

I’m still working out which photos I will use in other related projects, so in the meantime, I’ve watermarked them all. For Project Hawk at this moment, it’s about the story – the visuals are sort of a preview of projects to come.

As a side note… Between yesterday and today’s excursions, I took what I think just may be the best photos of the juveniles that I have ever taken in these years of hawk watching (including the photo that became the logo for Project Hawk). I can’t share them here just yet.

mama on pole with one leg hanging in front

August 17

The story of the day is: Mama hawk. Something is wrong with her right foot/leg. She seems to be favouring it when she is perched and it hangs down quite prominently when she flies (not always).

Despite my concern about Mama, I did manage to get some videos of the babies – with the tripod! The content is not all that exciting but sometimes (most of the time) bird watching is just watching birds being.

baby with wings spread

August 18

I followed one of the dark morph babies today. They were hanging around a light standard pole. Almost got those elusive in flight shots that I strive to get every year… so close.

mama dropping food

August 20

Wow, what a great experience hawk-watching today! And hooray for me for having the tripod set up to capture some of that video.

We happened to be at the right place at the right time – it was feeding time and I got almost all of it on video. Suffice to say, both Mama, Papa and all 3 babies were around.

Mama carrying a dead magpie

August 22

Imagine sitting in your yard just enjoying the lovely weather. Next thing you know, there’s a heckuva racket as a whole lot of crows and magpies are cawing and squawking incessantly. After a few minutes of this, I got up to see what all the hullabaloo was.

As soon as I walked around the corner and looked up, there was Mama hawk at the top of our tree, the crows and magpies swarming and swooping around her. I ran to get my camera. As soon as I got back and aimed it at her, she took off. That’s when I saw it. She had a bird in her talons. Unfortunately, my camera had slipped into a different setting (other than Manual) and the shots that I did manage to get were not good at all.

The rest of the story is that Mama took the dead bird over to the Hill. I just managed to capture the drop once she got there and a couple of shots of her hanging in the air while looking down. It was obvious this was food for one of the babies. The photos were horrible but what a story!

baby taking flight

August 26

I had an opportunity to record one of the juveniles hanging out on some fence posts. Maybe some of my best videos of the hawks except for the glaring fact all were without a tripod… again… sigh. Anyway, here’s some footage to watch:

baby at the playground

August 31

The gap between sightings/photo ops is usually either because of work and/or just being unable to go searching for the young ones for one reason or another. Sometimes the wait is worth it though.

By this time in the season, the babies have made their way to the playground. They are very curious. They also practice being the raptors they are through intimidation. It was so much fun watching these two trying to one-up each other.

baby assuming position

September 2

It has been so easy heading off to the playground for some hawk-watching. It seems like the same two that were there yesterday are here again today – at least for sure the lighter-coloured one was there.

I also took my first hawk poop action freeze frame shot – not entirely on purpose. I mean, I could see what was coming by baby’s posturing and I was already setup and taking shots anyway, so…

baby hiding in a tree

September 3

And then comes the day that you never know is the day – the last photos taken of the babies this season.

It doesn’t necessarily mean that we don’t see them again before they migrate – in past years I have seen them around up until mid-September. It just means that this is the day of the last photographic evidence of their stay in the neighbourhood.

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