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A male and female Northern Harrier interact

Western Washington resident, Becky Rosencrans, was fortunate to see the following interaction between male and female Northern Harriers. The photos were taken in December 2010, so it was probably too early for the male harrier to be using the carcass for pair bonding. In fact, he seemed to have no intention of sharing his catch.

Becky says: "Northern Harrier males may have more than one mate during their breeding season, so he'll probably be a busy boy once nesting starts. But since it was early, I doubt that he was 'thinking' about enticing yet another mate. You'll see that the female is banded. But I didn’t even notice the band until I downloaded the shots … I was obviously too interested in watching the birds and their interactions at the time!"

Female harrier on the left, male on the right .... Whatcha got there?

Standing his ground --

Hey! Pay attention!

Note the band on the female's right leg.

Come on... Share!


Mine, all mine.

Becky says, "I simply lucked into the situation of seeing the two birds. During the winter season, when we have so many raptors in our area on the Samish Flats, I am out looking to see what I can see most weekends. I feel so lucky, blessed even, that I get to live in an area that draws in such a large number of these wonderful avian critters during the sometimes dark, damp days of our Pacific Northwest winter. Bottom line is that the more that you’re out there, the more you are going to see."


When the time does come for Northern Harriers to breed, they put on quite a display. Check out this BirdNote show -- and video -- about harriers' "sky-dancing!"

Sights & Sounds