The Travels of Tug 44

Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier females are mostly brown ... sometimes brown bars on the chest ...   high-res

... and some of the females have a mostly brown chest. They all have that circle around their faces, much as Owls do ... it helps with hearing, and they can hunt by sound.   high-res

The male Northern Harrier is mostly gray with a white bottom ... sometimes they are called "The Grey Ghost". During breeding season, one male will often service as many as 5 females. The males are rare and this is my only picture of one.   high-res

This female Harrier is skimming only 3-4 feet over a hay field, listening and watching for mice and other tasty little critters.   high-res

In this picture, the female Northern Harrier on the left had caught a mouse and had just finished it, when the female on the right landed next to her ...   high-res

... and suddenly both birds explode into the air with the first female attacking the other. These birds do not tolerate any competition at all. The mid-air battle continued as they both faded into the distance.   high-res

This Northern Harrier female lands in a hay field to collect grasses for nesting materials.   high-res

And off she goes, carrying that ball of grasses to her new nest. These birds nest on the ground, in the middle of hay fields.   high-res

She lands at the nest and sits there for awhile, as photographers arrive. She worked on this nest for 3-4 days but eventually the crowd spooked her and she abandoned her work and re-started elsewhere. It's ok, early February is a bit early for nest-building.   high-res

January 2017 - Spotted this female Harrier sitting on a fence post and got this and the next 2 photos. It was the morning after a snow fall, and she's surveying the hay field for mice ...   high-res

... when suddenly she starts doing her stretching exercises. All Northern Harriers, as well as most other birds, do this.   high-res

And then her wings come up and she launches into the air. Glorious!   high-res

February 2017, this male Northern Harrier was sitting in a hay field about 200 yards out ...   high-res

... and a few minutes later, he lifted his wings and flew! The males are blue-gray on top and the undersides are mostly white.   high-res

And a week later, I got another male Northern Harrier in flight.   high-res

The Northern Harrier, one of the best fliers around.

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