The Ferruginous Hawk is a large, broad-winged hawk of the open, arid grasslands, prairies, deserts, and open range of the West.
Light morph birds are rusty brown on the upper parts and pale on the head, neck, and underparts with rust on the legs. A rarer dark-morph is reddish-chocolate in color.
Ferruginous Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, and the Golden Eagle are the only American birds of prey to have feathered legs all the way down to the toes.
The Ferruginous Hawk primarily hunts small to medium-sized mammals but will also take birds, reptiles, and insects. Mammals comprise 80 to 90 percent of prey in their diet with birds being the next most common. This hawk is often found standing above prairie dog burrows to wait for prey to emerge.
Red-headed Woodpeckers are medium-sized woodpeckers with bright-red heads, white underparts, and black backs with large white patches in the wings, making the lower back appear all white when perched. Immatures have gray-brown heads, and the white wing patches show rows of black spots near the trailing edge.
They live in pine savannas, plantations in agricultural areas, and standing timber in wetlands. They breed in open country across southern Canada and the eastern-central United States.
They catch insects in the air or on the ground, forage on trees or gather and store nuts. They are omnivorous, eating insects, seeds, fruits, berries, nuts, and some small rodents and eggs of other birds.
Photos and information by George Ho.
Bird Walks: First Saturday of the month from 8 –10am. Join George Ho and other bird experts for a free guided walk around Bluff Lake. All are welcome. Bring your own binoculars or borrowed ones will be available. 11255 MLK Blvd. BluffLake.org.
Search FrontPorchNE.com for “Bird Sightings” to see all the past bird stories and photos from George Ho.