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Saturday, May 19, 2012


Male Northern Harrier

A male Northern Harrier perched on a hedge row in a field against a background of leaves undergoing their change into autumn foliage provided for a striking fall picture.


He launched from his perch in the field into the air and went on the hunt. Northen Harrier Hawks (aka Marsh Hawks) are really cool to watch as they effortlessly glide slow and low above open country watching and listening for prey below. This coupled with their long tail and white rump patch makes them fairly easy to identify.

What do they eat? Their diet consists of insects, birds, small mammals, reptiles and carrion.

It was a delight to see and to photograph this male as most of the Nothern Harriers I've witnessed are females. Why do we typically see more males than females in South Louisiana? The general thinking is that most adult males winter farther north, thus we see relatively few down here.

What age is this male Harrier? He is at least in his second year as some males take several years to transition into what would be considered a "typical" adult male with little or no brownish feathering.

Another Fly-By.

Due to his ease of gliding low over the fields I thought it appropriate to name this guy "Tom Cruise" and it was certainly not an "Impossible Mission" for him to catch prey in the field.  :)

An interesting fact about Northern Harriers such as 'Tom' is they roost on the ground at night and sometimes in groups. I've yet to witness this phenomenon but it must be fascinating to experience as they converge on a roosting area at dusk landing in trees then dropping to the ground to settle in for the night.

Female Northern Harrier

Tom had been cruising the open fields for quite some time when his wife Penelope grew concerned and set out to find him. As she glided about she thought, "These fields aren't "THE COLOR OF MONEY" but they are gorgeous this time of year. I sware to goodness, my husband must think he is "TOP GUN" and a "LEGEND" the way he cavorts about with "ALL THE RIGHT MOVES" with his aerial antics! Now where is he?", as she pressed on. 

Fortunately Penelope didn't have to fly "KNIGHT AND DAY". She looked down and spotted Tom sitting on a fence post and said, "There you are!"

 "Tom, there is bad weather on the way. It looks like it might "RAIN MAN". It could be "RISKY BUSINESS" if you stay any longer and it grows dark. You might even find yourself having an "INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE". Let's go home.", she said.

He kind of looks like Tom Cruise doesn't he?  :)

Harriers usually glide in the field too far away for a picture (for me at least). I was thankful for a few fly-bys in range so I could share with others.

All photos taken in SW Louisiana
Thanks for looking, :)

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