Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk
I went to Klamath for the eagles but left there with an interest and appreciation for a completely different bird. I am not sure if I have ever encountered the Rough-legged hawk before but was captivated by the beauty of this raptor from the far north. They are widely distributed over North America and Eurasia. They breed on the tundra and in open areas eating small rodents such as lemmings and voles. They winter in southern parts of the U.S. and Europe. I was lucky to see one pounce on a mouse and get shots of it eating it. Hope that those pics don’t offend anyone. I met several other birders on the refuge who were looking for Roughies as they affectionately called them. They are sought after by photographers as they are quite photogenic. They have feathering all the way down their legs and even on their toes as an adaptation to keep their legs warm in their cold habitat hence their name.

14 thoughts on “Rough-legged Hawk

  1. Great pictures, Alison! I watched an American Kestrel a couple of days ago dive into the grass and come up with a mouse, which he carried away to eat. That was our reward for letting our fields grow up to provide better habitat for mice, voles, and other small animals.

    1. Thank you Calee. Birds are tricky for sure. These refuge birds were the most cooperative I have worked with. It was nice to be able to use the car as a blind. They seemed pretty used to people looking at them from cars. It is the first time I have been someplace that was possible and it is a nice way to get close.

  2. Beautiful photos of a beautiful bird. For me all the raptors are beautiful, and they are my favorite to photograph when I get the opportunities. But, I must say, I have never seen a Rough-legged Hawk, but our checklists list it as “rare, hard to find, not present every year”. Maybe I’ll get a chance someday, Alison.

  3. Thanks Bob. I did not realize how lucky I was to see this Roughie until you commented. This particular bird is the only one I saw during my visit. I saw it everyday in the same place hunting mice. I will certainly be on the look out for them now. They are really beautiful. Thanks for your kind words about my photos. I hope you see one too someday. πŸ™‚

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