No...not THAT kind of bird! There is a red-tailed hawk that lives in my neighborhood. He frequents the trees in my yard and can often be found perched on the fence at the back of my property. This bird is smart...I mean SMART. He usually only comes around when I don't have my camera handy. By the time I get it out and set to shoot, he has moved on. If I do have it sitting on the table at the ready, he does not appear. He haunts me, taunts me, almost mocking me and daring me to get a good photo of him. He has been so brazen as to perch on my deck and look at me through the window. Damn bird! The quest to photograph this bird is my one and only New Year's resolution for 2013.
Oh there was one time he came around and I did have my camera ready for him. He was at the very back of the yard, perched on that fence. Even though I had my 100-400 mm lens on, I had to get closer. Slowly, calmly and ever so quietly I approached him staring through the viewfinder as I stalked him. My thinking was as soon as I got close enough for a decent shot, I would fire it off. Also, if he did fly away before I got there, at least I could get something. Closer and closer I crept, thinking all the time that this was the day I would get that iconic photo of him.
Now...let me readily admit I am a man and yes, walking around in the yard looking through a viewfinder is not the safest (or smartest) thing. I know that. I have lived in this house for 14 years. Mowing, raking and picking up sticks and branches from the tress in the yard all that time. I should know this place like the back of my hand. Turns out...not so much. Although I could see any obstacles in front of me through the viewfinder, in my excitement I failed to take into consideration anything below that field of view. I stubbed my toe on the stump of a tree I had cut down years ago. I lunged forward, lowering my camera in a most ungraceful way and, of course, the hawk flew away. Oh yes...I did regain my balance and managed to fire off a few shots as he soared off (probably laughing at me) but he was already too far away for the photos to be of any use. A few choice words later, I return to the house even more committed to photographing my nemesis than ever.
So if you have read this far, here is where the fun comes in. I already have a groundhog living under my shed that I have named "Gus". This is beginning to sound like an episode from Wild Kingdom! Anyway, I want to name this hawk. Don't ask me why...I just do (it's a guy thing) but I have not been able to come up with a good name for him. So....
Put your thinking caps on...go to my facebook page and share your idea in the comments section of the post on this subject by the same name. I'll narrow it down to my three top favorites and then post a survey so that everyone can vote on the ultimate choice.
In the meantime, I am lensed up and ever vigilant for a chance to photograph this ever elusive beast. I also want to say no birds were harmed in the writing of this post, only my pride.