September 26, 2012 by: Ann Harwood
Bird Watching at Bear Spirit Lodge B&B St. Ignatius, Montana
Montana Ferruginous Hawk
near St. Ignatius, MT
From the beautiful raptor family, the Ferruginous hawk is the largest of the hawks, and a great symbol of vision and grace. It is often mistaken for an eagle due to its size, proportions and behavior. Pictured is a Ferruginous hawk photographed on a utility pole by the hay fields a few miles from Bear Spirit Lodge. The Latin name, Buteo Regalis, means "Royal Hawk."
They fly fast and ride on the thermals, the warm updrafts that occur over land. Then, the hawk suddenly swoops down to the prairie and the hayfields to grab a small critter such as a vole or mouse for food. A hawk has a hooked beak that they use to cut up their food. Like all birds, they have excellent eyesight, and see 8 times better than humans.
Most hawks are active during the day. They use their excellent eyesight and can see up to a distance of 2 miles. Their powerful feet are covered with scales, and they catch their prey with their feet. They will eat whatever they can catch, including insects, toads, frogs, chipmunks, snakes, mice, voles, rats, and even rabbits.
The Ferruginous hawk is strictly non-migratory, and remains in its winter habitat throughout the year. The habitat in the Mission Valley for hawks to grow and reproduce is safe, non-poisonous, and full of "foodstuffs" to perpetuate the species. Come see us, and do some bird and bison watching during the fall season.