Recently I had the privilege of photographing a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk during the first few days of flight. I wasn’t fortunate to capture the very first attempt but those soon after. It was a great learning experience for me. (Of course, I say that after almost every shoot I’ve completed.)
It was easy to imagine, as it had been on earlier days when first I saw Juvy standing on the nest peering out at the world, the trepidation it must have felt. Some will tell you that birds have no emotion but I think that is ridiculous; no creature could make its way through the world without emotion. Why would one be cautious unless first feeling fear?
At some point the bird, perhaps through the insistence of ancient memory, has to lift off and fly. And so Juvy did, but not very far at first.
Not having the strength to fly back up to the nest, where it would be fed, after having flown down to the tree below the nest, Juvy made short hops from branch to branch back and forth between the two trees, gaining height with each short flight.
Time out for a little rest.
Eventually it got back up to the nest in time for Mom to bring lunch.
So much for today, time to take a nap.
(Continued in A Red-tailed Hawk’s first flights (Part 2)