Something I Didn’t Know About Rough-Legged Hawks


Each winter northern Utah plays host to the arctic raptor known as the rough-legged hawk. Primarily a rodent eating bird but one which apparently has a few surprises up its sleeve. I came across this rough-legged hawk feeding on a duck carcass yesterday on the shoreline of the Great Salt lake. When my vehicle had stopped and I had time to observe the bird more closely I was pleasantly surprised to see it was indeed a rough-legged hawk. I was thinking at first notice, well before I was close enough to get a good look at the bird, it would be a northern harrier as they are commonly found feeding on old waterfowl carcasses left by eagles and falcons. I had no idea rough-legged hawks would scavenge for food like so many other raptors do but with how cold and wet this winter has been I am wondering if the elements have caused it to take advantage of what mother nature has provided. I am sure most wild birds of prey do some kind of scavenging at one time or another when there is no other way to survive. It is just I have never seen a rough-legged hawk feed on a duck carcass before but that is why I love photographing nature. There is always something new to learn, observe and photograph.

rough-legged hawk feeding on a duck
Rough-legged hawk feeding on a northern shovelor.

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