Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk With Its Jackrabbit Prey

/, Box Elder County, Rough-legged Hawks, Utah/Juvenile Rough-legged Hawk With Its Jackrabbit Prey

Rough-legged Hawk on a jackrabbitRough-legged Hawk on a jackrabbit – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/2000, ISO 250, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

There was sunshine, plenty of much appreciated, glorious sunshine yesterday morning and not a cloud in sight while I spent time looking for and photographing birds in Box Elder County, Utah. It felt marvelous to have the warmth of the sun on my skin and to see that the air was clear and lacked ALL signs of our winter inversions. I could see for miles and miles any direction that I turned my head.

My best bird of the day was a juvenile Rough-legged Hawk standing on a jackrabbit in the snow that I spotted next to the road. The jackrabbit was most likely road killed which Rough-legged Hawks will consume and I see road killed rabbits in the area where I found this hawk quite often. It is not likely that the Rough-legged Hawk took down the jackrabbit itself but I suppose it could happen.  Rough-legged Hawks need to eat about 10% of their body weight daily and I am sure this jackrabbit could have helped this juvenile meet that daily requirement easily.

I was only able to get a few images of this Rough-legged Hawk with my D500 and 500mm lens with the teleconverter attached and this is one of those images. This is full frame and I was barely able to fit the entire bird inside my viewfinder and still had to clip parts of the jackrabbits feet. I removed my TC after I had taken 19 shots but the bird took off before I was able to focus on it again. There are times I really wish there was a button on the teleconverter that could turn it off instead of having to manually remove it.

Road side location of prey Road side location of prey – HTC One M8 cell phone image

The image above was taken to show the location of the prey from where I photographed the Rough-legged Hawk from the opposite side of the road and east of the prey, the red arrow points to the jackrabbit.

I was very happy to have frame filling images of this handsome Rough-legged Hawk standing on its prey in the snow and the photos I took of it made my day.

Life is good.


P.S., after the Rough-legged Hawk took off it landed on a power pole within sight of the jackrabbit so it probably came back to the prey later.


  1. Pepe Forte February 15, 2017 at 12:35 am

    Great shot Mia. The hawk is gorgeous. But how on earth did you see it from that angle and at that distance? I couldn’t have found it using the Hubble. That’s just amazing! Thanks.

  2. Mia McPherson February 14, 2017 at 4:37 am

    Thank you Kim, Tim, Patty, Laura and Utahbooklover.

    You are right Laura!

  3. Utahbooklover February 13, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Beautiful image. Laura mentioned physics in her comments; so true, common sense rarely applies.

  4. Laura Culley February 13, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    While it’s unlikely this juvenile took down a jackrabbit, it’s certainly possible. I watch 600-gram male Harris’ hawks take them routinely. Now when you look at the math, it just doesn’t work, HOWEVER, there they are. Many of our laws of physics and gravity and the like just don’t pertain to raptors!

  5. Patty Chadwick February 13, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Beautiful close-up of a magnificent bird…glad it’s finding food with so much snow on the ground. The idea of an on-off teleconverter button has got to be in the works…it’s such a great idea….

  6. pennypinchadventure Tim Traver February 13, 2017 at 7:37 am

    Wow! Great shot!

  7. Kim February 13, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Man, that’s a stunner. Great pic!

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