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Old Jan 8, 2005, 6:51 PM   #1
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I live in the woods, so I see plenty of deer, (mostly after dark), squirrels, an occasional turkey or owl. The deer can be quite close, but the larger birds are infrequent, and usually not close. Anyway, I've never had a camera with me when I needed it.
Well, today I was IN TOWN coming out of a building when I looked to my right and saw this hawk sitting on a handrail. I new my camera was in the car, so I continued walking towards the car, got the camera, and started walking diagonally back towards the hawk. I managed 3 shots while walking, this is the best. It flew as soon as I stopped to try and get a good shot. It had been raining lightly, and was still very overcast.
I'm not really happy with the quality of the shot, and I did cut the tail off, and it's not as sharp I would of liked, but it's my FIRST one. By the way, the shot is full frame @ 3X with the Canon Powershot S500. Boy do I want a dslr...



Ron
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 8:56 PM   #2
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Pretty fine work for someone walking, I'd say. The bird itself is great, sharp and nice pose. It's a shame that it had to be sitting on a wire fence with a boring white wall background but you take what you can get in a difficult situation, and you definitely did a really good job of mobile shooting here. On my computer it looks like a bit of contrast would help, but that my just be my monitor setting. Other than that and the setting I'd say you should be extremely pleased with this shot. Even the raindrops are nicely visible.
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Old Jan 8, 2005, 9:23 PM   #3
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A nice shot. If you want to clean up the noise a little you might try Neat Image. It would take out the noise and make for a smoother photo if that is what you were after. You could also adjust the colorcast since it was bad weather and you'll get a brighter image. I have some software that can do this if you want to see an example of how you can manipulate it. Its tough to get a good shot in the conditions you were in. It would be nice if wildlife posed at the right time of day in the perfect setting! I don't think its a Red Tail Hawk. Looks kind of like a Coopers Hawk or Merlin but I am no expert. If you saw the wings when it flew and they were rounded at the end its a hawk but if they are pointed its some type of Merlin or Falcon.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 5:29 AM   #4
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Definately not a Red-tail. See a lot of those around here, unfortunately
when I'm driving a gazillion miles per hour on the highway with a tractor trailer on my butt.
Looks to me like a Cooper's Hawk. BTW, good catch.
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 7:20 PM   #5
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I did some research and it does appear to be a Coopers Hawk. The photos are somewhat variable, but the description looks like it was made from my photo.

Thanx to all,

Ron
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Old Jan 9, 2005, 7:48 PM   #6
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The hardest type of hawks to ID are Coopers and Sharp-Shinned. This is clearly... one of those two.

First off, the eye being yellow (and not red) makes it a younger bird. It's in adult plumage but it's a very young adult.

Size is the best way to tell them apart. If it was in 24-27" (male) or 29-34" (female) then its a sharpy. If it was 37-41" (male) or 42-47" (female) then its a coopers.

The book that I'm using (A photographic guide to North American Raptors) shows that the Sharpy's have a yellow Cere (the skin at the base of the beak) but the Cooper's do not. Based on that I'd say this is a Sharp-Shinned Hawk. But I'd have to go down stairs to get more books to look up if that is really a true distinguishing field mark.

Either way, nice picture and I'm sure you were happy to get that close to a great bird.

Eric
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