Northern Harriers ... and Friends
In the late Winter and early Spring, we were treated to visits from Northern Harriers. These stunning birds stayed around the farm for over a month, hunting low over the grass fields.
The larger Female, with her brown/rust markings, was seen less often than the Male.
The Crows continually harass any Birds of Prey that happen to be in the area; the Northern Harrier is the only bird that I have observed turning and chasing the Crow!
The smaller, white/gray/black Male was around almost any time of day, every day, hovering over the fields.
Here we see him over the neighbouring farm with a Pigeon.
For about a week, there were 2 Male Harriers and 2 Female Harriers. They didn’t always get along!
A pair of Short-eared Owls showed up at the same time as the Northern Harriers. They did not seem to mind sharing the territory with one another, and there were times when we would see a pair of Harriers and a pair of Owls in close proximity. One morning there were 6 birds (4 Harriers and 2 Owls) in the long grass.
On one rare occasion, the Male Short-eared Owl (with the white wing undersides with distinctive dark markings) flew past the barn, and then spiralled up high in the sky.
During stormy days, 4 birds sometimes rested by the barn, or flew over the fields hunting. The Owls were seen far less frequently than the Harriers -- they would usually make an appearance at dawn or dusk a couple of times a week,
or in the midst of a heavy snowstorm.
We had hoped that some of these wonderful birds would stay around and nest. Both species are ground-nesters, and there are suitable nesting sites for them at the back of the farm. However, we have seen no sign of any of them for about a week now, and it is likely that they have moved on. What a treat to see them for a short time.....maybe next year!