Monday, November 30, 2015

Rough-legged Hawks: Winter in the Qu'Appelle Valley

A Rough-legged Hawk perched on a fencepost beside Rte. 99 through the Qu'Appelle Valley,
ignoring the cars, its head into wind alert for prey.

At this time of year, so much is gold. Fields, feathers, lichen — and raptors' eyes and feet.

Even nearby, the Rough-legged Hawk blended into its surroundings, gold and brown bird on gold and brown fence posts, against gold and brown fields.

And then this feathery-legged Hawk lifted gracefully into the wind and flew over to another post.

Closer to voles and gophers, perhaps? Closer, as well, to me.

These large hawks spend their summers in the Arctic, and their winters in fields and prairies of the U.S. and Southern Canada. The Rough-legged Hawk is known for its well feathered legs — a feature shared to this same degree by only a few other raptors. All About Birds provides good tips for identification, including dark tail tips and dark patches at the bend of the wing.

Rough-legged Hawk. © Shelley Banks; all rights reserved.
Rough-legged Hawk on fencepost, camouflage in plain sight © SB  
In for a landing, Rough-legged Hawk.  © Shelley Banks

What is this? A Rough-legged Hawk.
Location: Near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.   

Photo date: November 30, 2015   


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