Northern Harrier Hawk

posted in: Wildlife | 6

gray white male northern harrier hawk

A Northern Harrier Hawk makes regular visits to our fields, soaring low over the grass searching for mice. Over the seasons I have tried many times to get a good shot of him in flight but the quick and acrobatic bird always eluded me. This week I had a chance to see him on the ground for a moment. This gave me a good opportunity to finally get some photos of the unusual looking bird of prey.

Northern Harriers typically glide low over grasslands looking for prey. The shape of their head, and the way they face toward the ground while hunting, makes them look somewhat like an owl. This grey and tawny colored hawk, with white feathered legs and white underneath the wings, appears to be a young male. The summer breeding range of Northern Harriers covers most of Canada and they seem to be plentiful here in Muskoka.

I had just finished cutting a field which sent the mice scattering for cover. The clever hawk knew this might make hunting easier for him so as soon as I came in with the tractor he began scouting the field for stray mice. The hawk soon spotted an interesting mouse nest on the ground. He landed in the grass and poked around looking for a meal. I didn’t see him catch anything but was pleased that for once he stopped just long enough for me to get a few clear photos!

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6 Responses

  1. Min

    Great to be able to see the hawk so clearly – beautiful bird

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    • Otter Boyd

      I agree, they are nice looking birds and it was nice to finally get a good look at this one who has been a regular visitor to the fields.

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  2. Alexia

    Love love love the hawk so close a shot to see his thick feathered legs!

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    • Otter Boyd

      I was surprised to see those fluffy legs too. I’ve seen this hawk in flight many times over the past couple years but had never seen his face up close or fluffy legs like that until he landed in the grass.

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