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Female Northern Harrier guards its kill

My goodness, what a charmed encounter with this beauty! Driving along a dirt road in Adams County, Colorado, I see what clearly is a hawk on the ground in the open and not 10 feet from the road. That struck me as odd and as I looked closer, I could see it was a female Northern Harrier.

Very slowly I drove closer and much to my amazement, she didn’t flee. I stopped and started snapping pictures and soon realized why she didn’t want to leave. She was guarding a kill – a rabbit. I snapped bunches of pictures as she stood nearby, hesitant to approach it.

As it would turn out, she was being watched by something else, a young Red-Tailed Hawk, that I hadn’t noticed. The other raptor would eventually scare her off and claim the meal, a bit of action I failed to capture well. However, I was absolutely thrilled to get these pics of the Harrier. They are notoriously camera shy and these are probably the best sitting pics of one I have ever gotten.

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female Northern Harrier stands in the open of the snow-covered Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

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