One of my bird-related goals for the winter was to photograph Ferruginous Hawks, one of the largest Hawks in North America and, for my small amount of money, one of the best looking. They're an uncommon sighting in the agricultural fields west of Phoenix, and alas the only photo-op came with a juvenile bird, that neither had its rusty siding (described by the ferruginous name) nor its fully imposing beak. If there's one thing a birder and photographer must be able to do though, it's ditch those scruple in a ditch. It was cloudy and the bird was mangy, but it was better than a Stilt in the eye.
Even though this bird still has the soft, yellow gape of a juvenile bird, it clearly possesses the eyes and smile of a sadistic killer.
I know, at this point it's probably getting annoying how much I anthropomorphize birds with human characteristics and character flaws, but think about it this way. If you were an elegant triumph of form and function, like a Ferruginous Hawk, wouldn't you take great pleasure in living and hunting to the best of your ability. Everybody has that satisfaction, and he knows it's coming.
After about thirty seconds of eery perching, this one and only Ferruginous photo-op up and flew away. I'm pretty annoyed at myself that I didn't zoom out enough to get the whole bird in the frame, but when it comes to these birds I am certainly a rookie.
Perhaps I will see this bird again next year. He will have rustier sides and a more mature beak. And he will have blood under his nails...mwuahahaha!