Day 316: Rough-Legged Hawk: Attack – Kill – Eat – Take Off

I decided to return to my neighborhood Rough-Legged Hawk this afternoon and discover whether I could obtain some hunting photographs. As my photos demonstrate, the hawk definitely obliged me!

Here was my process. Once I located him, I stopped my car at some distance and let the hawk get accustomed to my car. After several minutes I inched forward at 1 to 2 miles per hour. Stopping again I then waited for the hunt to proceed. My patience was rewarded several minutes when the hawk dove on an unlucky mouse or vole. After it finished that meal, I was amazed when the rough-legged hawk flew back up to the telephone pole which was closest away from me (about 30 yards). It resumed its hunt. I decided to focus my camera on where I believed its attention was focused and hoped I might capture the instant of the kill. I did! These seven photos are all part of the hunt sequence.

I have cropped the last photograph to help readers see the rough-legged hawk’s feather legs. This hawk is one of the only birds which has feathers down to its talons. Given it spends the summer in the Canadian sub-Arctic, and the winter in northern Minnesota, the natural adaptation makes sense!

The Attack
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-1-Attack

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The Kill
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-2-Kill 316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-3-Kill

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Eating
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-4-Eat

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The Take Off
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-5-Take-Off

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In Flight Post Hunt
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-6-In-Flight

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The Talons
316-Birds-365-Rough-Legged-Hawk-7-Talons

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