2021 Audubon Photography Awards: Video Category Winner

July 16, 2021


This is the 2021 Audubon Photography Awards winner in the Video Category and it shows a Red-tailed Hawk hovering in the sky with unreal head stabilization.

Story Behind the Shot: Over several days I watched a pair of Red-tails taking advantage of the strong early summer winds streaming down from the Rockies, hovering in midair while scanning the foothills for mice and ground squirrels. This one floated almost level with my lens. His head stayed still while his body moved, his wings and tail steadying him and his dangling feet acting as ballast.

Bird Lore: Red-tailed Hawks most often hunt from a raised perch, as flying low enough to scan for prey usually requires more flapping and more energy. At times, however, wind conditions are such that they can hang motionless, hardly moving their wings, resting in the air as they study the ground below.

The video looks so unnatural it seems like a glitch in the Matrix. The bird hovering in the air is weird enough, but the way the head remains so perfectly still is unnerving. It's the same way security stares at me whenever I walk into a store or a museum or a woman's changing room.

Keep going for the full video.

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