Northern Harriers are year round residents in Utah and I am encouraged by the numbers of them I have seen lately at Farmington Bay WMA. Last winter at Farmington Bay I saw far fewer Northern Harriers than any year I have photographed there which in part may have been caused by a vole population crash the year before plus we had a very harsh winter then too which took a toll on the raptors and owls that make the marshes at Farmington Bay their home.
The survival rate among young raptors is poor because only about 20% make it to their first year due to inexperience at hunting. They either need to learn to hunt and catch prey with consistency or they will die.
I hope this juvenile Northern Harrier survives. They are fascinating to watch as they course over the marshes while hunting with their buoyant flight and quick dives into the vegetation when they locate prey. This juvenile Northern Harrier in flight in particular and another juvenile harrier had just dive-bombed a Rough-legged Hawk that was tucked into a tree. The Roughie wasn’t bothered much by them though and I captured this frame as the harriers flew away. I truly enjoy watching these birds.
On another note, it might snow here tomorrow which excites me because I love photographing raptors in the winter!
Life is good.