Young raptor spreading his [her?] wings

eats shoots 'n leaves

If there’s one maxim in photographing wild critters, it’s this: You never have the right the lens for that exceptional shot. esnl was loaded up with his long lens when he went out looking for raptors this afternoon, and some nice shots resulted, especially of this young bird flexing his gorgeous plumage.

Here’s another with the young raptor engaged in a tail feather display. One thing that struck esnl was the role of the tail feathers as a sexual signaling device, forming rings like a target directed at what Victorians once called “the organs of generation.”

Then there’s the photo he didn’t get. A few seconds later, both parents and the second sibling arrived amidst a great deal of clamor and all four took wing — the first time the whole brood has been aloft at once — but that required a shorter lens, so, alas, you’ll just have to…

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