Red-Shouldered Hawk at the Fishpond

Red-Shouldered Hawk - Images by Brian Cleary

I’m a firm believer in backyard fishponds for many reasons: They possess a zen-like quality for relaxation and just sitting an thinking, they give you a hobby and something to work on in your yard on those beautiful -weather days that are so common here in Central Florida, and, as a photographer, they supply me with a vast array of photographic subjects, as a fishpond is a gathering place for all kinds of animals looking to quench their thirst or looking to dine on some sort of fishpond resident.

Over the years my own backyard fishpond has attracted minnows, dragonflies, bullfrogs, toads, lizards, butterflies, owls, woodpeckers, raccoons, possum, blue herons, night herons, and, as this slideshow shows, Red-Shouldered Hawks.

On more than one occasion, we’ve looked outside to see one of the beautiful and majestic birds sitting on a branch or rock overlooking our fishpond, waiting for some delectable morsel, maybe a frog, fish or mouse, to show itself.

When I see one in the yard, I grab my 500mm lens and go outside to get as close as possible, hoping for a close-up portrait. I’ve found these birds to be quite tolerant of me, and I’ve often been able to get with 20-25 feet before they become nervous and fly away. I never miss the opportunity to photograph a Hawk, especially the close=up shots revealing the beautiful, clear, intelligent eyes this bird possesses.

If you are photographer with a little spare room in your yard, the addition of a fishpond would reward you on several fronts!

Roll your cursor over any image to get caption info, click on an image for print and download availability and pricing, or simply sit back and enjoy the slideshow! is the Slideshow blog of Florida-based freelance photographer Brian Cleary and features selected collections of images from his online photo archive which contains more than 30 years of photography, both editorial stock and royalty-free stock photography and is housed at