A Golden Eagle wheels low looking for an easy meal at a banding station - Photo by Mike Werner  

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HAWK CLIFF FOUNDATION

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Rough-legged Hawk
(Buteo lagopus)

Migration Timeframe:

In the last 10 years not a single Roughleg has been observed during the month of September. They start to migrate in the first part of October, and  increase in numbers until the end of the month. Statistically, October is the peak month for Roughlegs at Hawk Cliff, while many may be observed at the beginning of November and through until mid-December.


Year

Peak Week

Avg

2002-2007 Nov 03-09 14


Year

Peak Week

Count

2008 Oct 27-Nov 02 22


Year

Earliest Obs

Count

Year

Latest Obs

Count

2002-2007 Oct 01 2003 1 2002-2007 Dec 08 2007 2
2008 Oct 10 1 2008 Nov 21 5

 

Where to Watch:

Like many of the other buteos, Roughlegs tend to pass through the hawkwatch area inland from the cliff. Observers will most often watch for Roughlegs starting at "Sharpie Alley" (just south of the ravine) and then moving further northward. They're typically seen migrating through individually in small numbers.


High Counts:

The Roughleg numbers were once again well short of the record set in 2004 and no other records were set in 2008


1-Year 

Count

1-Month

Count

2004

110

Nov 2004

67


1-Day

Count

1-Hour

Count

Nov 21 1987

51

Nov 03 2004

9

 

Yearly Totals:

The 2008 yearly fell short of both the 10-Year and the 5-Year averages. (averages are based on 1998-2007 and 2003-2007 counts). .


Year

Count

Year

Count

Year

Count

1995 15 2000 14 2005 55
1996 32 2001 22 2006 43
1997 16 2002 12 2007 43
1998 40 2003 43 2008 41
1999 83 2004 110 2009 N/A


10-Yr Avg

5-Yr Avg

47

59



Interesting Facts:

  • Rough-legged Hawks are rare south of wintering range. Males all ages winter farther south the females.

  • All Roughlegs winter in southern Canada and northern - and mid - states in the U.S. Seldom venture to Florida or to Gulf of Mexico states.

  • Availability of summer prey dictates Roughie numbers, and the former may fluctuate significantly. Sometimes, when prey is short, Roughlegs will leave (again!) in Jan/Feb (late migration !!) and move farther south (to the U.S.)

  • During winter months, the majority of Roughlegs seen in southern Ontario are most likely to be females (adults and juveniles)

  • During winter months, the majority of Roughies seen in s. Ontario are most likely to be females : adults and juveniles. Sometimes, when prey is short, Rouglegs will leave (again!) in Jan/Feb (late migration !!) and move farther south (to the USA)

 

 

 


A Roughleg hovers low looking for a meal - Photo by Shay Redmond

Click on chart image for enlarged version

Click on chart image for enlarged version

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Created: 2007-04-27   2007 Hawk Cliff Foundation  -  All rights reserved