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Melissa Mayntz

Bird of the Week: Northern Harrier

By December 13, 2012

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This week's featured bird is a common raptor to find low over open fields this time of year - not only does the northern harrier have a wide winter range, but its distinctive white rump is a great mark for birders to easily identify. Occasionally confused for an owl because of its facial disk, this raptor has stunning senses just like owls and it just as much fun to add to a life list.

Have you seen the northern harrier? Share your sightings in the comments!

Northern Harrier
Photo Nick Saunders


December 13, 2012 at 9:44 am
(1) Dale K says:

Yes, we saw one in October 2011 up at Killarney Provincial Park in Ontario. It was flying over a marshy lake and my fiance took some great photos. I think you may have helped us confirm the ID on this same bird as it was our first sighting!

December 13, 2012 at 10:57 am
(2) cathartes says:

We have them at Sauvie Island, just west of Portland. There’s an open field near the Columbia River (love to go fishing there) and harriers tend to hang out there. Wonderful to watch. And I’ve only worked on one injured male harrier. They’re nice in the field but amazing up close. I wanted to stare at him (not good since it stresses them out).

December 13, 2012 at 11:13 am
(3) Darlene says:

Yes, they are fairly common around here. They even hunt small ducks, coots and herons here.

December 15, 2012 at 1:34 pm
(4) Jeff says:

Harriers come into our area just about the time the ospreys leave, they are beautiful, I’ve tried to get pics of them, but they are hard to get. Actually had a male land next to me in a deadfall while I was deer hunting a few years back?(within two feet),”Amazing”

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