One-legged hawk?

gmom74March 2, 2007

I made a number of pictures of it while it was on this limb- sure wish I had a close-up lens. It looks like the right leg is withered or drawn up against its body. I never saw both legs.

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hmmmm sure looks like only one leg there to me.
good picture! What kind of hawk is it?? I know nothing about birds,,I can only identify a few basic ones in my backyard. I did come across this article on a bird web sight, maybe it will help clear up the mystery of this guy!I learn something new each day!

Birds can balance on one leg quite easily due to flexor tendons which allows them to lock the leg in position. "Perching on one leg is thought to be an energy-saving adaptation." There are other reasons to stand on one leg as well. When hunting, Herons may stand on one leg to better blend in with reeds and "other natural objects, putting the prey off guard". Also, standing on one leg "helps with regulating body temperature, allowing the bird to tuck one foot up against, or even within, its feathers", and is done in both hot and cold temperatures.
("Why Birds Do That", by Michael Furtman, copyright 2004)

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 5:53AM
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Photo2, I don't know what kind of hawk it is- there are a few that hang around. I watched this one for 7 or 8 minutes grooming itself. With all that activity it looks like it would have needed both legs to balance. Thanks for the information. I'll keep an eye out for this one.

    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 6:26AM
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Nice picture!! It kind of looks like it may be holding it's other leg up, or maybe just had it in that position when you snapped the photo.

Birds with one leg, that eat mostly seeds can exist better than birds of prey, which have to stand on one leg while holding prey with the other, while using their beak to rip it's food apart. If flying and holding their meal, they need one leg to land on and grip a limb, and they would have to drop their meal everytime they land if they only had one leg.

On a much sadder note, I have seen people using claw traps nailed to the top of long poles baited with food to catch hawks. In one instance, I saw the leg of a large bird, most likely a hawk, hanging from one, so somewhere there is a one-legged bird, but whether it lived or not I do not know. They don't want the hawks around because of the threat to the purple martins.


    Bookmark   March 3, 2007 at 9:25PM
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Even in the sadness of the probability of having only one leg, it is still a beautiful bird. Nice job getting the photo!

What kind of camera did you use?


    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:00AM
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Thanks, all. Starduster, I used an S3IS- it has 12x zoom, which helps a little. The bird- I think it is a Cooper's Hawk- was about 40 feet away. I had to enlarge and crop in a photo program to get a decent picture.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:24PM
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Its a gorgeous picture. It would be terribly sad if he does have only one leg. Let us know if you see him again!

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 1:56PM
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That is a nice photo, Gmom! How interesting on 'one-leg' information...

    Bookmark   March 4, 2007 at 9:35PM
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This is definitely a Cooper's hawk. On additional reason that birds stand on one leg is to conserve body heat in cold weather. Here is some additional information and examples of two hawk's tucking their feet:'s%20hawk

Excellent photo!

Here is a link that might be useful: Colvin Run Habitat

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 8:35PM
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You can see him/her holding up his/her right leg.


    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 10:30PM
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HG and Kt- I watched the hawk for a good ten minutes. It was a warm day and it was busy grooming itself but it never put that other foot down. You can see the talons of the right foot up in its feathers. There have been two hawks flying around but they don't land around our yard. We have been feeding the birds this winter and I guess the hawks sometimes takes advantage of a quick meal. Anyway, I was thrilled to be able to get a picture of it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2007 at 8:18AM
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Lovely shot, nice color and you can see the eyes!!


    Bookmark   March 15, 2007 at 12:12AM
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