Bitterroot rough-leggeds return to the valley
Image courtesy of Mel Holloway

Image courtesy of Mel Holloway

I can always tell when winter is approaching by the detection of various migrating bird species that show up in the Bitterroot.

One bird shows up like clockwork every November poised to reduce the rodent population in the valley.

Named for its feathered legs, the rough-legged hawk is a large hawk within a group of hawks referred to as Buteos. These hawks, which include species like the common red-tailed hawk, have broad wings and often perch on telephone poles, fence posts or wheel lines to visually detect their next meal or feed after a successful hunt.

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Teller Wildlife Refuge