Red-tailed Hawk, Raton, New Mexico

swainsons hawk new mexico
A Red-tailed hawk. Or is it a Swainson's?

As we were walking around the ranch in New Mexico looking for bears, we were entertained by hawks swirling overhead looking for lunch. I looked later in National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Regionand based on that, thought this was a Swainson's Hawk.

But, a little more research, and consulting an actual bird expert naturalist, identified it as a Red-tailed Hawk. Although, you need better eyes than mine to make the distinction. Even the All About Birds site puts the Red-tailed and Swainson's hawks on the same page.

He was concentrating on the grasslands below until a raven appeared. He didn't like the raven trying to horn in on his buffet, and so turned and chased him off. I was lucky to get this shot.

 hawk and raven
Hawk and raven, having a little dispute over who is eating dinner first.

Luckily I had the 300mm zoom lens on the camera and pretty much just aimed and fired. It's hard to focus on something moving so fast, so I took some time to set the aperture to 9 so as to get some depth of field. So, the focus was good, and the backlighting from the strong mountain sun made for a lovely shot.

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