I had a wonderful opportunity to study two red-tailed hawk chicks. They were still chicks but already had a lot of brown feathers and showed the real raptor character. At that age they have not yet killed any prey. They will stay in the nest for several months as innocent little creatures, being fed by mother and father. This is not a real good period for mice, as they are the main prey of this red-tailed predator.

Different than falcons, red-tailed hawks only take prey from the ground. Without hawks and owls, mice could become a real plague, as they can have offspring many times a year. The rules in nature are not as gentle as we would like. With predators we learn that everything lives from everything and that an individual is not important, but that the species must survive.

After the study work I did with the two chicks, it was really tempting to do a close-up scene with the mother and her offspring in the nest. It was interesting to show the expression of wisdom of the mother hawk and the innocent but ambitious expression of the chicks. But the real challenge for me was getting the texture of the feathers.

– Carl Brenders