Saturday, June 6, 2009

Camera Critters: Ferruginous Hawk

Even though I am not really a bird lister and do not technically keep a life list, I do keep track of each new type of bird that I see and photograph. On our trip to Snake River and Yellowstone this year we were able to get pictures of several new types of birds.
One of the most exciting new birds that we photographed were the ferruginous hawks that were nesting out at Snake River Birds of Prey NCA. The ferruginous hawk is the largest hawk in North America with a wingspan of around four and a half feet and a weight of about two to four and a half pounds.
Ferruginous hawks are found in the western plains of the United States and parts of southern Canada. Their preferred habitat is unbroken grasslands with scattered trees and rock outcroppings. They hunt in several different ways but seem to prefer to attack their prey in a low skimming approach. Their food source consists mainly of rabbits and diurnal rodents, such as ground squirrels.
Because of the high quantity prey, mostly ground squirrels, that can be found in the area the Snake River Birds of Prey NCA has about 800 falcons, hawks, eagles and owls that nest in the area each year. Ferruginous hawks begin to nest in late April, in the southern part of their range, or May, for the rest of the range. The build stick nests in large trees, rock outcroppings or in transmission towers, as was the case with most of the nests that we saw at Snake River. In the past when bison roamed the area nest often included bison bones. The same nest is often used year after year with the nesting pair adding on to the nest each year, the same as bald eagles.


Gaelyn said...

Very cool to see the hawks. Like the nest capture.

Larry D said...

We have seen this type of hawk here in Kansas but Ive never seen a nest. Great series of photos!

Chris said...

Wonderful shots... I cannot choose they are all great man! Well done!

Cezar and Léia said...

This wonderful hawk is very charming!
Great work with these pictures! Well done!
Happy Camera Critters!
purrs and love from Brazil
Luna ( )

and mommy Léia

Joy said...

Impressive photos!

Anonymous said...

Another Hawk I have never seen. It is a beauty thanks for the learning experience!

2sweetnsaxy said...

I apologize in advance for not reading this post. I've got to run but the photos stopped me. Just had to say how awesome I thought these shots are!

dAwN said...

greak pictures of the amazingly large hawk!