I observed this Northern Harrier as he came to land on a wooden fence post near the pond I was scouting. The first year juvenile surveyed the area briefly and then took to the air again.

Once airborne, the harrier followed the shoreline, carefully peering into the reeds below. He was obviously searching out prey and very focused on this activity. He was so focused in fact, that he did not notice me until he was very nearly right on top of me.

The startled harrier quickly changed course, and coolly floated over to the other side of the pond. Once there, he resumed his hunt as if nothing happened.

The harrier continued around the bank of the pond, peering deeply into the reeds as he went. Suddenly the harrier winged over to gains some altitude and then dove hard into the reeds, disappearing from sight. Clearly he had found some kind of prey animal.

I watched the spot where the harrier had vanished into the reeds for almost ten minutes before he reappeared. The bird quickly flew away into the woods in the distance. There harrier appears to be carrying something in his talons upon closer observation of the last few photographs. A small bird perhaps?

DateMar 5, 2012
Time of DayMorning
TemperatureWarm (70-89°F/21-32°C)
Type of BehaviorHunting
ObserverChris Jackson

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