This Coopers Hawk made my day. Sure, there are technical aspects of photography: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, etc… But, a lot of times good images are the result of luck. Meaning, you’re just in the right place at the right time. This image (which I happen to love), was a result of just that.

Feed the Birds

I have bird feeders in my yard, and I keep them stocked so that there’s always birds in my yard. So, when I have time I sit on my deck and shoot them (with my camera of course). Because they’re there, I often look out the window to check if the feeders need filling or just general bird activity.

Special Treat

I have regular visitors. So, usually I peek and the usual birds are there eating – mostly cardinals, mourning doves, house finches, and catbirds. Honestly, I’m kind of bored shooting the same birds. So it’s always a special treat to see a bird I haven’t seen before, especially when I’m sitting there with my camera.

I Gotta Get That

This particular day, I happened to glance out to the door. To my surprise, I noticed a rather large bird sitting on the flat surface atop of the fence. Immediately, I recognized that it was a hawk – later identified as an immature Coopers Hawk. It was busy eating something – tearing apart the flesh of an animal. I got excited, saying “oooh I gotta get that”. My wife and daughter were preparing to leave the house. Since my daughter thinks I’m weird, they didn’t really pay me any mind as I took off running.

Where’s my camera?

Since it’s impossible to take a picture without a camera, I needed to get mine. My camera is usually in the basement. So, I ran down the stairs to get it, only to realize that it wasn’t there. There was no time… I didn’t know if the hawk was still there or not. Suddenly, I remembered that my camera was in my car. So, I ran upstairs and out to the garage. In my hurried state, I grabbed my bag and ran into the house. I grabbed the camera, then looked out the window to see if it was still there. IT WAS! Nervously, I fumbled to get the lens cap off. This was a shot I couldn’t miss!

Don’t Fly Away

By that time, the hawk had finished its meal. It was just sitting on the fence top. Shooting through the blinds would make a horrible picture; I had to get outside. Now, the backdoor that leads to the deck has expanded due to temperature. Opening the door isn’t quiet, and it usually scares the birds away. This presented the need to open it somewhat quietly, which I managed to do. The hawk turned its head, because of the noise. I’m thinking to myself, “I’ve made it this far – don’t fly away before I can get a shot”. Fortunately, it stayed – as I was able to tiptoe onto the deck, raise my camera, and fire off about 6 shots before it flew away.

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