A Kiting Rough-legged Hawk

Kiting Rough-legged HawkKiting Rough-legged Hawk – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 314mm, natural light, not baited

Four years ago I spent time photographing a Rough-legged Hawk along the causeway to Antelope Island and later over the island itself. As I observed and photographed this Rough-legged Hawk it caught prey a few times and oddly enough I saw the hawk being bitten on the leg by the prey that day too at which point the hawk dropped the vole and then flew down to retrieve and eat it whole. The hawk spent most of the time in flight while I photographed it.

Rough-legged Hawks are known for kiting or hovering nearly motionless in the air while turning their head side to side to look for prey on the ground below them. This kiting Rough-legged Hawk was over an area near the marina on the island when I photographed it while it searched for prey.

Rough-legged Hawks will consume about a tenth of their weight per day so they spend a lot of time on the wing searching for prey on a daily basis.

Life is good.



  1. Mia McPherson December 30, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks for all your comments. I’m so happy you visit my site!

    Mark, Rough-legged Hawks fill in for Swainson’s here too.

    Stephen, when I get up near Park City it is usually during the warmer months, a lot of raptors will leave the high country in the winter and head for the valleys where it is slightly warmer.

  2. Utahbooklover December 27, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Very good. I also enjoyed looking back at the “being bit and eating on the fly” link.

  3. Elephant's Child December 27, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Echoing Patty.

  4. Patty Chadwick December 27, 2015 at 8:58 am

    You take pictures, in crisp detail, of things I don’t even get to see anymore…I am so very greatful!

  5. Stephen leonard December 27, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Mia, I just love your blog, I’m constantly looking for Hawks, Eagles and Falcons where I live near Park City, you seem to get pics of the ones I miss.
    Thank you
    Stephen Leonard

  6. Mark Amershek December 27, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Mia – we have them here in eastern Colorado. They fill in for the Swaisons in the winter – as the vacation in South America. I like to see them kiting (hovering) out in the fields. I simply can’t pass up an opportunity to take a photo of them.

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