babies practicing being hawks
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My 6th consecutive year of documenting a family of Swainson’s hawks.

This is their story (and mine) through my lens.

AUGUST 7, 2022
One baby spotted in the alley near the nesting area. No photos.

AUGUST 10, 2022
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.

AUGUST 11, 2022
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.

AUGUST 12, 2022
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.

AUGUST 13, 2022
No baby pictures today. But I almost got some good shots of Mama hawk flying overhead… almost but not quite.

AUGUST 14, 2022
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.

AUGUST 16, 2022
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.

By the way, I share some of those photos here but not the best ones and not the highest resolution. Those photos will be used in another future project.

AUGUST 17, 2022
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! I’m trying to figure out the best way to share some of those videos, so stay tuned on that.

baby on fence post
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AUGUST 18, 2022
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.

AUGUST 20, 2022
Oh 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.

AUGUST 22, 2022
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!

AUGUST 26, 2022
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:

AUGUST 31, 2022
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.

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…

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.

the end of 2022
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