My photo excursion Saturday was not as eventful as I would have hoped but I did get some decent captures of these cool hawks allowing me a chance to showcase the difference between the two genders of the species.
Male northern harriers are oftentimes called the “gray ghost” due to their gray plumage and piercing yellow eyes. The coloring of females is entirely different with brown plumage and while not as striking as the males, they are beautiful in their own right.
They both have an owl-like face with stiff feathers forming a ring around their head helping to direct sound to their ears, allowing them to hunt by hearing as well as sight. You will oftentimes find them in open land, particularly near drainages, flying low and fast with their heads down as they look and listen for prey.
Harriers are very difficult to photograph due to their low flight path and erratic patterns but also very fun to watch.