The Ferruginous Hawk
This largest of the American hawks (wingspan 4-5 feet) doesn’t hang out down South in my neck of the woods. Thus it is a special treat when exploring the West or the Desert Southwest, like I did this past month of December, to encounter one of these stunning creatures.
‘Ferruginous‘ is from the Latin ferrum, meaning iron, and refers to the iron-rust color of their wings and legs.
The Ferruginous Hawk, along with the Rough-legged Hawk and the Golden Eagle, are the only American hawks to have legs feathered all the way to the feet.
The Ferruginous Hawk is also the plumpest of the hawks, with an appetite to match. Their favorite snack is the prairie dog. Often they will gather at prairie dog towns and wait for a meal to pop up.
This hawk has also been known as the Eagle Hawk, Gopher Hawk, Ferruginous Rough-legged Hawk, and Squirrel Hawk.
And what nugget of wisdom, pray tell, did I learn from my fine feathered friends on my recent trip West?
The birds taught me that I knew nothing, nothing at all.
– Jim Harrison
🙂 🙂 🙂