I had a fabulous encounter with a redtailed hawk this afternoon while wandering in the Arnold Arboretum - it landed right in front of me on a low branch of a maple tree and posed, apparently happily, for about ten minutes. There were plenty of people around too, everyone likes to go to the maple grove to take pictures at this time of year! I was able to get all sorts of shots from different angles and with different backgrounds, the only difficulty was the bright sunlight and trying to catch him without leaf shadows on his face. I was probably only about 15 feet away - definitely the closest I've ever got to a wild hawk, especially considering that he was so close to the ground.
Eventually, he hopped down to the ground, a few feet from where I was standing, retrieved a small bird and flew away. I don't think that he killed it there and then, I think it was already dead - my guess is that he'd killed it earlier, been startled and dropped it. That might explain why he was patiently waiting on the maple branch for all the photographers to go away. But that is just a guess - things happen so quickly that it's hard to really know.
Anyway, it made my day.
- Nikon D80