Date: 11/29/17 8:48 pm
From: Tom Wilberding <twilberding...>
Subject: [cobirds] Rough-legged Hawks, Elbert and Lincoln Counties

Barb and I were pleased to see 9 Rough-legged Hawks, all light morph, this
afternoon in Elbert and Lincoln counties.

- 3 south of Matheson on Elbert CR 149 to CR 66, spaced a couple of
miles apart.
- 2 more, a male and a female, at the top of a tree east of that
junction, 149 & 66. (Seemed unusual for a solitary hawk species in
non-breeding season.)
- 4 more along I-70 between Limon and Bovina, spaced a couple of miles

We also saw a Prairie Falcon, and two prairie Merlins, all spaced far apart.

It seems that during some winters Rough-legged Hawks are fairly common in
Colorado, other winters not so much. They eat lemmings in the Arctic, so
maybe their numbers fluctuate with the lemming population, like Snowy Owls.
I wonder if anyone keeps an annual Colorado census of this sort? I wasn’t
able to glean such data from eBird.

Horned larks were not abundant for us today, and no Lapland Longspurs
despite many patches of freshly plowed earth.

More on Rough-legged Hawks from the internet, if you’re interested:

As Swainson’s Hawks retreat to South America, Rough-legged Hawks descend
from the Arctic tundra to take their place. *Buteo lagopus. “*Lagopus” is
Greek for “feet like a hare’s”*. *Yep, they’re sort of furry, covered with
feathers, like ptarmigan, another Arctic bird. John James Audubon called it
Rough-legged Falcon. Wikipedia calls it Rough-legged Buzzard.

They breed in the Arctic and Subarctic regions of North America and
Eurasia, the only buteo that has a complete circumpolar distribution. Along
with the kestrels, kites and osprey, this is one of the few birds of prey
to hover regularly--we saw that activity today. There are three subspecies.

They have small talons and prey on small rodents, like lemmings and voles,
but are also known to take young snow buntings *and Lapland longspurs*.
(Yes, my excuse!) They can live 19 years in the wild.

Good winter birding!
Tom Wilberding
Littleton, Colorado




You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Colorado Birds" group.
To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to cobirds+<unsubscribe...>
To post to this group, send email to <cobirds...>
To view this discussion on the web visit<e4ceea59-a572-4613-8df3-8a7671e5fb7b...>
For more options, visit

Join us on Facebook!