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Cooper's Hawk eating a Robin

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Seen in a parking lot.

Seen in a parking lot.
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Behind The Lens


This was taken in a parking lot near a hardware store where a lot of robins and starlings were feasting on crab apples. I didn't expect to see a hawk there!


This was taken around 10 AM. I visit this site regularly in the winter as there are usually interesting flocks feeding on the crab apples there in front of the store.


The lighting was difficult as the bird was mostly in shadow, with bright light behind. I stayed in my car and shot through the open window from quite a distance as I did not want to disturb the bird. It seemed, however, impervious to human presence as there were a few other cars and people about 100 feet away. The hawk was very intent on it's meal!


This was taken with a Canon 1D Mark IV, and a 400 5.6 l lens-one of my favorite combinations. No tripod-just used the edge of my car window for balance. No flash. f/6.3, 1/1000,ISO 1250 with + 1.67 exposure compensation.


This was a grab shot-just happened to notice the hawk as I was mostly looking in the trees. Some birds were feeding on the ground-perhaps that's what this poor robin was doing. Although it might be a bit disturbing to see, I also admired the handsome opportunist who nabbed an easy meal. Perhaps the crab apples were somewhat fermented, making the robins a bit unsteady- that can happen. This picture was exciting to get because I was able to get quite close to an event that is not often witnessed.


I think I probably did some work on the exposure using "curves" in Photoshop, to improve the exposure. I don't really recall. Sometimes I use "shadow/highlight to do some corrections.

In my camera bag

Although I still have this camera and lens, I now use , mostly, a Nikon D500 and a 300 f/4 lens with a 1.4 teleconverter for bird photos. Sometimes I use a Tamron 150-600 in good light, but I don't carry that one around-it's too heavy. I love Black Rapid straps for quick and easy transport when walking around. I do have a tripod with a gimbal head in my car , and a monopod, in case there is a place where I can use them.


With birds, you just have to always have a camera ready to grab a surprise moment, because they always surprise you! It helps to know where some birds are likelly to be, but mostly I am constantly looking for motion and color and sound. I also go out with birders ...respectfully. Most important is to not disturb the birds and to make sure, if you are with birders, that you do not obstruct their view. Sometimes they appreciate my photos when a quick i.d. is not so clear. A picture can confirm or change an i.d. I enjoy, most of all, watching birds and their behaviors, even if I get no pictures. It is also a challenge to react quickly, get the right settings and just get focused on some little speck in a tree or in the sky.

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