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Ferruginous Hawk

Fierce-looking Ferruginous Hawk flies by

Winter means raptors on the plains of Colorado and their numbers have been steadily increasing over the last few weeks. Among the highlights, for me, are these cool hawks. While some stay here year-round, they are most common during the colder months. I absolutely love their look and they are usually relatively cooperative when it comes to taking pictures.

This particular one was flying low over a prairie dog colony recently, no doubt on the lookout for a meal. It gave me a nice flyby and this particular shot gives it a bit of menacing appearance, in part due to its closed inner eyelid. Many birds have what is called a nictitating membrane. This membrane wipes front to back every few seconds, cleaning the cornea. It is translucent and the hawk can actually see through it.

A Ferruginous Hawk gives a menacing stare as it flies by in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk gives a menacing stare as it flies by in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Dark morph Ferruginous Hawk showcases its amazing plumage

The fall chill that has recently hit Colorado has my mind wandering ahead to the coming winter and the types of wildlife that will soon be making appearances. Among those are these awesome raptors, the Ferruginous Hawk.

While they can be found here year-round, they are most common during the winter months. They are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles.

Ferruginous Hawks are one of the most beautiful hawks you can every see but the dark morph variety here is somewhat rare and encounters with it that much more special. When sitting it appears to be entirely dark in color but when it spreads those wings, goodness, that is when it shines. The white under its wings contrast with the dark body and head and are absolutely gorgeous.

A beautiful dark morph Ferruginous Hawk takes to the blue skies of Colorado.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A beautiful dark morph Ferruginous Hawk takes to the blue skies of Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fantastic Ferruginous in flight

Fantastic Ferruginous in flight. There’s a few F’s for you. 😉

These are my favorite hawks. They are very large and can be mistaken for an eagle at a distance. Their plumage is just gorgeous and that smile that they seem to have very cool. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight on a winter's day in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight on a winter’s day in Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Fantastic dark morph Ferruginous Hawk encounter

This was one fun encounter to say the least. Ferruginous Hawks are quite common this time of year however the dark morph variety is relatively rare.

I was lucky enough to come across this one on the back roads of Adams County, Colorado. It was kind enough to let me get some nice pictures of it posing and best of all, when it launched, it went in the absolutely perfect direction allowing me to get a nice launch and flight series. Lots of fun with an absolutely gorgeous bird.

Scroll down to view the complete series of images from this encounter.

A dark morph Ferruginous Hawk flies head on. (© Tony’s Takes)

A dark morph Ferruginous Hawk flies head on. (© Tony’s Takes)

The focused stare of a Ferruginous Hawk

Judging by the look on this raptor’s face, it appears it didn’t care too much to have its picture taken. It also would appear that it had eaten not too long ago given the red around its mouth and face. Some very nice early morning light on it. These are my favorite hawks as their faces just show so much personality and it also helps that they are generally very tolerant of people. Of course given how large they are, they really don’t have too much to fear.

A Ferruginous Hawk focuses on the photographer.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk focuses on the photographer. (© Tony’s Takes)

Even Hawks have to scratch when they get an itch

Watching a raptor do this is pretty darned amusing and I really don’t know how they don’t rip themselves open with those talons! This gorgeous Ferruginous Hawk was posing on a utility pole when the need to scratch became greater than its desire to keep an eye on me.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk scratches its head.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk scratches its head. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight

One sure sign of the change of seasons is a return of these awesome raptors – my favorite hawks. They are among the largest hawks and absolutely beautiful. Best of all, they are usually quite tolerant of people which makes for some cool photo opportunities. I came across this particular one on Sunday, unfortunately with some heavily overcast skies. Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing and photographing many more of them in the coming months.

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight on an overcast day.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk takes flight on an overcast day. (© Tony’s Takes)

First Ferruginous Hawk of the season

I was very happy to see my first and second of the season of these cool raptors. One gave me a nice flyby and the other posed on a pole for a bit before launching and heading off into the distance. These are probably my favorite type of hawk. They are just plain cool looking and I love the unmistakable ‘joker smile’ that they have.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk in flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk in flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk in flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk in flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

I do not like Mondays!

A Ferruginous Hawk shows its disdain for the start of the workweek, a sentiment many of us likely would agree with. 😉

This image was actually taken a few months ago north of Denver International Airport. I came across this raptor perched on a pole and it did not appear to care too much for my presence. I love the look on its face and the blood on its head clearly indicates it had just finished a meal.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

A Ferruginous Hawk looks rather displeased while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A Ferruginous Hawk looks rather displeased while perched on a pole in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk puts on an airshow

The amazing coloring and plumage of this raptor is really highlighted when against clear, blue skies. Fresh snow cover on the ground helped to reflect the sun from below and illuminate the underside as it took flight over me.

I was observing the hawk and managed a series of captures as it took flight, this being one of them. I just love everything about these hawks – their plumage, their ‘joker’ smile, and of course those talons.

Ferruginous Hawks are the largest buteos in North America and from a distance, their size and profile may have them mistaken for eagles. While they can be found here in Colorado year-round, they are most common during the winter months.

Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Ferruginous Hawk takes flight in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)