I take advantage of the Winter months by going out and getting shots of my first love…nature. Since you don’t have to contend with leaves, it’s the perfect time to get bird shots. Raptors, happen to be some of my favorite birds to find and get shots of.
Here in Ohio, we are very lucky to have a great population of Bald Eagles. It’s hard to believe that not long ago, these majestic creatures were almost extinct, but due to the banning of DDT and the eagles ability to adapt, they are now thriving. I have seen them, probably hundreds of times and yet I still get thrilled every single time I spot one. How could you not be in awe of something that has made such an incredible comeback?
The next raptor, is the Red Tailed Hawk, you see them everywhere, on poles, in trees, they are the most common hawk in Ohio. Whenever you’re driving and see a big hawk on a pole, it’s most likely a Red Tailed Hawk. The one in this picture is the male of a pair in a popular birding spot. He is not afraid of people, in fact, on a few occasions, he has flown and landed right in front of me, as if he’s asking me to take his pic. I think he’s rather cute…for a vicious killer.
Next, is the Cooper’s Hawk. If you have a bird feeder, chances are, you’ve seen a Cooper’s Hawk. They love to hang out at feeders and grab unsuspecting little birds. This one was hanging out in my back yard…probably trying to get one of my little woodpeckers.
I had never seen a Merlin until very recently, and what a show it put on. Merlin’s are one of the smaller birds of prey, they like to hang out at the very tops of trees, and catch their prey, in mid-air. While this one was hanging out, some crows decided to mess with it…not a good idea. This Merlin didn’t care for the crows, so it chased them away. It’s speed and agility are something to see.
I’ll finish this with my favorite raptors, owls. This is a Barred Owl, that I just recently got, and I love it because it was completely unexpected. We were actually out looking for the Merlin and just happened to find this owl.
The Great Horned Owl, the first owl I captured in the wild. They are impressive, aggressive, powerful and beautiful. This one actually took off right in front of me, and you could not hear it, which is why they are such successful hunters. I could see them every day of my life and never tire of it.