Rough (Legged) Weekend

Rough Legged Hawk: The Arctic Vulture soars over LBI
Rough Legged Hawk: The Arctic Vulture soars over LBI

While it’s tough not to keep your eyes focused on the ground looking for LBI’s famed winter visitors like the Snowy Owl and the Snow Bunting, soaring above us this weekend was an even more unusual gift from the North: The Rough Legged Hawk. This spectacularly cool monster is basically the Vulture of the North Pole and quite a rare, wild treat for the Island.

Unlike many other raptors, Rough Legged Hawks have hairy legs (that help to keep them warm in the Arctic), and crazy super powers like the ability to see the oily little trails left by vermin, which they see using their ultraviolet supervision. They are one of the few Raptors who hunt by hovering in one spot (like the Kestrel) which makes them easy to pick out if you happen to find one. Otherwise, you might think you’re looking at a young Bald Eagle.

Snow Owls, Snow Bunting, and now the Rough Legged Hawk. Santa can't be far behind.
Snow Owls, Snow Bunting, and now the Rough Legged Hawk. Santa can’t be far behind.