Saturday, December 7, 2013

Ferruginous Hawk with only one eye


I had found this female light-morph Ferruginous Hawk 3 days ago in the eastern part of my county here in Colorado. I got some close up photos when she landed on a utility pole right across the road from where I was parked.

Though I had looked at this hawk with both my binoculars and when it was further away with my spotting scope, I didn't see that it was missing it's right eye until I uploaded these photos and got a good look at her face.

Having only one eye is a major problem for birds as it would significantly affect their depth perception which would make grabbing prey a difficult task for a raptor. I have read of raptors with one functional eye--one eagle was kept as an educational bird in a raptor center as it ran into things. The other raptor, an Eagle Owl, was released as the raptor center that treated it for injuries with an attached radio transmitter that allowed researches to follow her as she successfully raised a 3 offspring while they noted no detectable differences in her behavior compared to fully sighted birds.


I didn't go back to check on her until today due to snow and extreme cold but did go look for her today. I found her in the same area which is near a prairie dog town, the primary food source for this species. She was more distant and I didn't consider trying to get closer to her as I do not want to interfere with her hunting. It was too cold still to watch her to see how successful she is but will try to do so when it warms up a bit. SeEtta

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Immature Bald Eagle in flight

I was driving home at almost dusk when I spotted this big beauty flying in my direction. Fortunately I was on a county road with no traffic as I quickly stopped and got out with my big 400mm lens on my Canon 60d dslr to get this shot. I believe this is a third year bird (they attain adult plumage at age 5). SeEtta

Golden Eagle close-up


I was delighted on Thanksgiving day to spot 4 Golden Eagles, 3 in Fremont County, Colorado (The first 2 I saw were flying a distance away and I did not get photos of them), all adults including this one that was perched on a utility pole along the highway. I parked on the other side of the 2 lane highway (naturally no shoulders and a downward slope so had to stay near the traffic lane) so I was about 50 feet from the utility pole it was on and may 75 feet from the eagle--this photo is the result of a very long telephoto lens plus cropping to enlarge it. I stayed in my car for safety and as I try to do anyway to reduce disturbance to the birds.

I really like the middle photo that shows the back of the eagle's head with it's golden feathering. I always try to not flush raptors from their perches as they need to be able to conduct your tasks of daily living and have chosen the perch because it is good is some way for them. I am pleased to say I did not flush this eagle, it was still on the pole as I drove off and I could see it in my side view mirror from a distance--that to me is success. SeEtta