This photo – not a very good capture from a photographic standpoint – is from my encounter with the Red Tailed Hawks at Paul’s house this past summer.   What it is a good capture of is a behavior that remains a mystery to me.  Despite what the photo may imply, the hawk is not calling.  In fact, he made no noise at all, despite repeating this pose several times from his perch on the neighbor’s roof.

Is it a territorial display?  An attempt at communicating dominance?  A yawn?  Do hawks even yawn?

His overall behavior at the time wasn’t aggressive.  He chose the perch, amid several others, and very clearly chose to associate with our visible presence in the lawn.  So I’m not sure what this pose meant – if anything at all – and it’s been puzzling to me ever since.

Brent Pennington is a freelance photographer and the driving force behind The Roving Photographer. When he\’s not working with portraiture or promotional clients, he’s usually in the field, hiking, or kayaking in pursuit of nature and wildlife shots.

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