How Close Can You Get?

Top Photo: Ranger Patrick (lower right) photographing one of the local red-shouldered hawks (beyond and to right of pine tree – large tree trunk on left).

Our resident red-shouldered hawks are quite used to human activity. When they’re hunting they seem to pay little or no attention to folks passing by.

In the heat of the breeding season the birds seem even less concerned. They often allow close approach by photographers like Ranger Patrick in the photos here, as he tests the limit of the hawk’s tolerance.

Searching for a meal.

As Patrick moves closer the hawk seems unruffled.

How close is too close?

Somewhere at about fifteen feet, a line is crossed.

The hawk’s posture stiffens.
In a blur of wings, the hawk is off.

There will be other opportunities. The breeding season has just begun!


Ranger Patrick followed the hawk to several other locations and was later able to get photos of this hawk together with its mate. Way to go Patrick!

Disclaimer. In no way am I suggesting getting close to a hawk’s nest. In fact, approaching a nest will likely stress the birds and, depending upon how far along the nesting process is, may cause the birds to abandon the site. Keep your distance please.

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