Rough-legged Hawk lifting off

Rough-legged Hawk lifting offRough-legged Hawk lifting off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Rough-legged Hawks are among my favorites of the raptors that over winter in the Salt Lake Valley of Utah because I only see them at this time of the year while they wait to head back to the subarctic and Arctic to breed. This winter I have seen fewer Rough-legged Hawks than I have in past winters which may be due to a crash in the vole population but that is just supposition on my part.

I photographed this Rough-legged Hawk last January at the moment it lifted off from a kestrel nest box at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area. I like how this image shows the feathered tarsi (legs) which give this hawk its name and also shows the length of their long wings.

There are just a few more weeks before these winter visitors begin their migration north to their breeding grounds so I hope to take many images of them before they go.



  1. Kathleen December 27, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Wonderful photo! I just saw my first Rough-legged Hawk earlier this month.

  2. Omnitrigger December 27, 2013 at 5:43 pm


  3. Rachel LeBlanc December 27, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Beautiful Mia, one of my favorite raptors too! Love the feathered legs.

  4. Wally December 27, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Stunning photograph of this beauty getting airborne! Simply superb, Mia! I’m, of course, jealous we don’t have them in Florida.

  5. Bryce Robinson December 27, 2013 at 12:47 pm

    Wow Mia, I honestly have never seen a take off photo from this angle! I love it. I’ve noticed low numbers of RLHA this year as well.

  6. Elephant's Child December 27, 2013 at 11:44 am

    My greedy self also hopes you get to take many more photos of them in the coming weeks. An incredible bird.

  7. Utahbooklover December 27, 2013 at 9:58 am

    Interesting capture and info. Thanks Mia — hope you had a happy Christmas; it certainly was a white one in Utah.

  8. Patty Chadwick December 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Wonderful! I wonder whose house that is….?

  9. Montanagirl December 27, 2013 at 10:46 am

    Sharp photo, Mia! You captured him beautifully.

  10. John Randall December 27, 2013 at 8:02 am

    Great Capture Mia !

  11. Julie Brown December 27, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Perfect timing. I like seeing the legs and feet in this position.

Comments are closed.