Orion arrived at the Medina Raptor Center in 2003 as a first year bird that had an open compound fracture of the high humerus, resulting in a right wing injury. He was found near The Wilds and brought to the Center from Coschocton. Due to the severe nature of his injury, Orion is unable to gain any altitude or sustain flight and became a rare and beautiful educational ambassador for his species and the Center.



About Rough Legged Hawks

(Information taken from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology)

A hawk of the North, the Rough-legged Hawk breeds in Arctic tundra and taiga regions around the northern hemisphere. Both dark and light forms are common, with many birds intermediate between the extremes.

  • Size: 47-52 cm (19-20 in)
  • Wingspan: 132-138 cm (52-54 in)
  • Weight: 715-1400 g (25.24-49.42 ounces)
  • Large hawk.
  • Wings long and broad.
  • Flight feathers pale, with dark trailing edge to wings.
  • Black marks at wrists.
  • Tail broad, with white at base and broad dark tip.
  • Commonly with pale, streaked chest and broad dark belly.
  • May be all dark, but still with pale wing feathers and white at base of tail.
  • Extremely variable in appearance because of light and dark forms and sexual dimorphism.
  • Legs feathered down to the toes.
  • Hovers frequently.
Sex Differences
  • Male light morph has some dark barring on otherwise pale wing feathers, narrow dark bands near base of tail, and belly with variable amount of dark mottling.
  • Female has cleaner white wing feathers, only one or two dark bands on tail (large one near tip), a nearly completely dark belly, and a browner back. Dark morphs similar, but female is browner. Some birds have mixed plumage patterns of opposite sex.

Juvenile similar to adult female, but with browner tail and less distinct dark band on tail and along trailing edge of wings.


Small mammals and some birds

Summer Range:

Breeds across Alaska and northern Canada. Also across northern Eurasia.

Winter Range:

Winters from southern Canada southward to southwestern United States, Louisiana, Kentucky, and Virginia. Also in central Eurasia.



Open coniferous forest, tundra and generally barren country, breeding on cliffs or in trees, wintering also in grasslands and open cultivated areas.


Hunts from the air or an elevated perch. Frequently hovers.

Nest Type:

Large bowl of sticks on cliff ledge. Lined with grasses, sedges, small twigs, and greenery

Egg Description:

Dingy white blotched with brown.

Clutch Size:

1-7 eggs.

Condition at Hatching:

Helpless and covered with thick down.

Conservation Status

No evidence of any change in North American breeding populations


Call a drawn-out, downward “kaaaar.”