Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Raptors

Today I had to do a little field inspection of a recently drilled gas well and found a pretty good selection of raptors. Golden Eagles and Ferruginous hawks were quite numerous. I also observed a Prairie Falcon, a few Northern Harriers, a Kestrel, and possibly a Merlin. On my way back home from work I found over 2o Swainson's Hawks, adults and young of the year, feeding on grasshoppers in a harvested lentil field. Migrating Swainson's Hawks have apparently been feeding in this field for a while. The parents of our babysitter told me they had observed a large number of hawks in the same field earlier in the week. I don't think that there are any more grasshoppers in the lentil field than in other areas, it's just that they have to keep the header on the combine so low to the ground to harvest lentils that there isn't much cover for the grasshoppers. There is also less vegetation to impede the hawks as they awkwardly sprint across the ground to catch the hoppers.



This Ferruginous Hawk flew above me and was obviously looking at me trying to figure out what I was doing.


Adult Swainson's Hawk in lentil field


Juvenile Swainson's Hawk.

2 comments:

Tabib said...

Lovely birds of prey shots.

Vickie said...

I love these photos and the ones in the previous post. Are you in Montana? I would be in heaven to see so many raptors in one place.
Enjoyed my visit.