Jerry Liguori, raptor expert, preserves his legacy in the Macaulay Library

Kathi Borgmann July 10, 2020
Jerry Liguori

Jerry Liguori has dedicated his life to sharing his knowledge and passion for raptors with the world. Nobody knows raptors better than Liguori—he is the authority on North American hawks.

Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus) ML244216171
Rough-legged Hawk – Buteo lagopus. ML244216171

Liguori has authored numerous articles and three authoritative, must-have books on raptor identification, as well as a ground-breaking video-focused raptor ID app. His books offer the reader not just identification tips but hundreds of photos of raptors at every angle, near and far, and under different environmental conditions to help people learn key features that separate each species. Liguori truly is a master at photographing raptors in flight and is an amazing teacher. Liguori told the American Birding Association’s Nathan Swick in a podcast, that his goal was to show how raptors actually look in the field and to help people become better birders. The key, Ligouri told Swick, is to focus on shape and overall flight style, and that is exactly the focus of his books. His work also won him the American Birding Association’s Robert Ridgway award in 2017.

Red-tailed Hawk (Harlan's) Buteo jamaicensis harlani ML242020371
Red-tailed Hawk (Harlan’s) – Buteo jamaicensis harlani. ML242020371

In 2016, Liguori was diagnosed with ALS, severely limiting his ability to go birding or photograph birds. But ALS has not slowed his passion for sharing information to help people identify raptors. Liguori is slowly and painstakingly adding his life’s work to the Macaulay Library, leaving a legacy behind for everyone to discover.

Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis ML242022461
Red-tailed Hawk -Buteo jamaicensis. ML242022461

Liguori recently told Dawn Hewitt, editor of Bird Watcher’s Digest podcast, “I’ve lived my bucket list.” Now, Liguori says his passion for raptors will live on forever not just in his books, but also in the Macaulay Library where his photos and videos will be preserved in perpetuity.

Red-tailed Hawk (calurus:alascensis) Buteo jamaicensis calurus:alascensis ML241295041
Red-tailed Hawk (calurus:alascensis) – Buteo jamaicensis calurus:alascensis. ML241295041

Take a look at Liguori’s photos, videos, and audio recordings in the Macaulay Library—be prepared to be in awe. Jerry’s work is now being incorporated into galleries in Birds of the World.

Check out the subspecies galleries being developed now for Red-tailed Hawk, showcasing many of Jerry’s photographs of breeding birds from across the West. Also, look for his unparalleled videos of raptors in flight to be included in Birds of the World as these accounts are updated moving forward.

Jerry Liguori at Bountiful Peak, UT (2012). Photo credit: Brian Sullivan.
Jerry Liguori at Bountiful Peak, UT (2012). Photo credit: Brian Sullivan.

Thank you Jerry, for everything you have done to advance raptor conservation, and for continuing to be the best teacher.

Another one of Jerry at Bountiful Peak. Photo credit: Brian Sullivan.
Another one of Jerry at Bountiful Peak. Photo credit: Brian Sullivan.