Monday, January 19, 2015

Odd Wing Molt in Rough-legged Hawk

While outside (Florence, Montana) yesterday looking for Snow Bunting (and other open country birds), encountered several buteo soaring along mountain foothill (nice and windy) instead. Light was not good; identification of far soaring birds came out "black" :-) No matter stayed on task and was rewarded with both eagle species and one buteo with "several" flight feathers missing. That is really weird. Got out my camera rig (Canon T1i w/70-300mm) and shot several photos at least one football field away, results below. It is definitely a Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) with at least three flight feathers missing from the left wing. It was flying just fine by the way!

I visited Jerry Ligouri website, expert raptor photographer. In a brief search of his site could not find specific material related to rough-legs and molt. Still, he has excellent material on all things hawks, identification, photographs, etc.

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk (Note faint thick belly band)