Rough-legged Hawk on a Designated Parking Sign

/, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Rough-legged Hawks, Utah/Rough-legged Hawk on a Designated Parking Sign

Rough-legged Hawk on a parking signRough-legged Hawk on a parking sign – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-4000mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Four years ago today there were whiteout conditions at Farmington Bay WMA where the horizon seemed to disappear due to thick ground-level fog, low hanging clouds and a deep blanket of snow on the ground. It was a challenging morning for me to photograph in but I know it was much harder for the birds that had to go through the bitter cold temperatures of the winter night because most of the birds I saw early in the morning were covered in hoar frost.

Many of the birds here in the Salt Lake Valley find a place to roost in the evening and overnight frost begins to accumulate on their feathers like it did on this Rough-legged Hawk on a parking sign. Rough-legged Hawks breed in the Arctic tundra and taiga of Canada and Alaska and are used to frigid temperatures and their feathered tarsi, or legs, help them to withstand the cold.

Still, when I see birds covered in frost I feel bad that they have to survive the harsh winters here without the creature comforts that I have.

The weather conditions here this morning look as bad, if not worse, than they were four years ago. I’ll more than likely be staying home and keeping warm.

Life is good.



  1. Utahbooklover January 23, 2017 at 10:40 pm

    Another tough bird. I had to look up “hoar frost” in Wikipedia: Types of frost include crystalline hoar frost from deposition of water vapor from air of low humidity, white frost in humid conditions, window frost on glass surfaces, advection frost from cold wind over cold surfaces, black frost without visible ice at low temperatures and very low humidity, and rime under supercooled wet conditions.

    • Utahbooklover January 23, 2017 at 10:47 pm

      The name hoar comes from an Old English adjective that means “showing signs of old age”

  2. Elephant's Child January 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm

    Love that literate bird.
    And would love some of that weather too.

  3. Patty Chadwick January 23, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I get a kick out of seeing birds sitting on “appropriate” signs…almost as if they can read…this bird, all fluffed up against cold, miserable weather, reminds me, once again, how tough it can be for them…especially finding food in such waether…

  4. Liz Cormack January 23, 2017 at 7:02 am

    Well, the hawk is “parked”! Love it!

  5. Kim January 23, 2017 at 6:19 am


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