WILDLIFE PHOTOGRAPHY – BIG CYPRESS WMA, FL
Above is a photograph of a Red Tailed Hawk, taken in flight, at the Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area, off of I-75 (Alligator Alley) in Collier County, Florida. The camera gear used in this shoot is a Nikon D90 camera body attached to a Tamron 28-300mm lens. The Big Cypress Wildlife Management Area is a prime location for birders, and wildlife enthusiasts.
The Red Tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) is a raptor with a length of approximately 22 inches and a wingspan of about 4 foot 2 inches. Its head, back, and wings are dark brown. Its upper chest is white and lower chest has a band of heavy brown streaks contrasting with white thighs. The red tailed hawk perches in trees, and is often mobbed by crows, redwings, grackles, and kingbirds. Its habitat is woodland edges, and isolated trees in fields, and is a resident in mainland Florida.
The red-tailed hawk is a top predator. On family drives, keep a lookout for red-tailed hawks perched on telephone poles. The hawks use these tall perches to spot their prey in the open spaces next to highways. Red-tailed hawks also hunt from the air. As they circle and soar, with their keen eyesight, can spot a mouse from 100 feet (30 meters) up in the air—about ten stories high.