Swainson's hawk

While at the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi, we stopped to watch their Wild Flight show, which had numerous birds of prey flying about and keeping my camera busy.  After the show, they brought out this beautiful bird and let us get up close.  I bolted over there, knowing I could get some good shots before he was surrounded.  I believe he said it was a Swainson’s hawk, but if anyone out there can confirm otherwise I am all ears.  Regardless of the type of bird, I found it to be incredibly beautiful and of course fun to photograph up close!  If you get a chance, I recommend spending some time at the Texas State Aquarium.  There are many exhibits and it’s just fun anyways to check out these things.  Oh, and bring your camera!

My favorite neighbor

So this little guy seems to have taken up residence in a tree (along with his family) just across the street.  I have seen him several times lately, and have tried to get close enough to take his photo - to no avail - until today.  He happened to be eating a worm in the street and was content to just sit there for a bit.  I initially took shots from some distance, assuming he would take flight when he thought I was too close (and eventually he did) but I was able to get within about 20 feet of him!  I kept inching closer and closer, and sat down on the curb and fired away.  

Does anyone know what kind of bird this is?  Via a Google search he appears similar to a red-shouldered hawk and also a merlin, but I really have no idea.  Any help on that front is appreciated.  One thing I know for sure - my wildlife photography skills need some work, and I probably need much different equipment.  Either way, it's fun to get pretty close to a creature this beautiful.

Red-tailed hawk

The red-tailed hawk is a beautiful creature, and my favorite bird.  I have seen them a couple of times in the wild, but never had my camera handy.  In this case, we were at a NatureFest of some sort in a small town outside of Austin, and there was a gentleman there who rescued injured birds of prey.  He had an eagle, several hawks and some owls too.  He had actually trained some of the birds and did demonstrations, showing their skills in catching moving objects and things like that.  It was pretty interesting and I was glad to have my camera on me that day.