Northern Harrier

I went to the beach this morning and didn’t even take a picture so since I was prepared for just such a situation I give you the Northern Harrier!

Female Northern Harrier

We have been blessed the last couple of years with a couple of Northern Harriers that frequent Green Cay Wetlands.  The setup of the boardwalk makes it almost inevitable for one of them to fly by you on just about any visit during the Winter.

The "Gray Ghost" the male is infrequently seen at Green Cay

Some cool facts from the Cornell University of Ornithology.

  • Most male Northern Harriers are mated to one or two females at the same time. Some males pair with up to five mates in a season. Females incubate the eggs and brood the offspring, while the male provides the bulk of the food for his mates and their nestlings.
  • Unlike other hawks, the Northern Harrier relies on its hearing as well as its vision to capture prey. The feathers of the face are stiff to help transmit sound, and it shows a pronounced “facial disk,” much like that of an owl.
  • The Northern Harrier feeds primarily on mice, other small mammals, and small birds. It will, however, take larger prey, such as rabbits and ducks. It has been known to subdue large prey by drowning it.

I have seen the female Harrier 100’s of times and the male less than a dozen.  Only once have I seen them together and she was driving him away!

Another cool thing about Harriers is that they nest on the ground.  I’ve never seen a nest but do see the female frequently resting on the ground.

Such a cool bird to have around on a regular basis.  All my photos were taken at Green Cay Wetlands in the last 2 years!  Click on any photo to see a larger size.  Thanks for stopping by!


About sheriffsmith

I have worked for the Broward County Sheriff's Office the last 13 years and spend most of my free time birdwatching / naturewatching and photographing the birds and nature that I encounter. I believe God has blessed us with a world that is so absolutely fascinating and wonderful and I'm doing my best to discover and show others all that he has provided us with in nature.
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4 Responses to Northern Harrier

  1. You did it again. Beautiful. I know about Harriers (a little) but the pics helped me get a – well a better picture. Thanks.

  2. Lady Deidre says:

    Awesome Photos!
    God Bless!

  3. mike585 says:

    Wonderful images again, Sheriff.

  4. Beautiful collection & narrative of the harrier, those last two shots are stunning, what colors!

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