Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ferruginous Hawk

I’m using my blog for a slightly different purpose tonight -- to make sure interested birders can get a look at the photos we took today which verify the presence of a ferruginous hawk only about a mile from my home.  I wish I could say I spotted him.  I didn’t.  Matt Hunter, an excellent birder, noticed this particular buteo didn’t look quite right to be a red-tailed hawk.  Red-tails are common here and very variable in plumage.  Most winters one or two rough-legged hawks are seen by someone in the county; and we have a decent number of red-shouldered hawks.  I can only remember one other ferruginous hawk in the county in all the thirty plus years we have lived here.  Ferruginous hawks nest in eastern Oregon and Washington, southern Idaho, most of Montana and Wyoming, and western North and South Dakota -- and usually go farther south for the winter.

Matt spotted the bird a few days ago and took the best picture he could using a cell phone and binoculars!  Then he sent a call out hoping someone could get better pictures.  Yesterday we got good enough photos to verify it is a ferruginous hawk.  Today the sun cooperated and we got even better photos.  

We spent a lot of time waiting for the hawk to come hunting near us and for awhile he landed in a tree near us.  While Dale photographed I got to sketch. 
Note the feathering on his legs, typical of Ferruginous and Rough-legged hawks.
At some  angles very little red shows on the tail.
In different light the tail has a reddish cast.  We are quite sure there is only one bird.
..... and we were treated to an extra surprise while we waited.  A black-colored red fox came out and hunted in the same pasture the ferruginous hawk often hunted in.


  1. Hi, Elva,
    Happy New Year! Thank you for sharing the beautiful photos, the drawing and the post. Keep up this wornderful blog.
    Best wishes, Sadami

    1. Happy New Year to you, Sadami. I hope you have lots of rewarding book work in the new year .... and stay healthy!

  2. Oh my what a wonderful sighting. Is this close to us? We've had a fox out our way that has been sighted. I will keep my eye out for the Hawk. You got some really good photos.

    1. The area is easy to find Cris. He hunts the big pasture just west of Kruse Farm Market. He looks really white when he perches. He perches several places: in a tree near the bridge over the swale before you reach the river (driving south, past Kruse's), in the top of a pine on the south edge of the pasture, or in a clump way out in the pasture. Good luck finding him!

  3. Elva,
    So happy to have discovered your blog. I will be feasting on your past posts for the next several days. Jim Scott