Friday, February 8, 2008

Rough-legged Hawk

One of the most common raptors wintering in Montana is the Rough-legged Hawk. They are often found perched on telephone poles in sagebrush habitats or perched in the small branches of trees. Even at a distance it is easy to identify this hawk by two behaviors not exhibited by other raptor species of this size in Montana in the winter. The first is the habit of perching on small branches as noted above. No other hawk of this size will perch at the ends of small branches like this. The other is their habit of hovering while searching for prey. Again, they are the only large raptor found in MT that will hover like this. Here are a few photos of a Rough-legged Hawks from Montana. In a few months they will be heading north to breed.

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