An Intriguing and Very Tame Northern Harrier

/, Box Elder County, Northern Harriers, Utah/An Intriguing and Very Tame Northern Harrier

Goofy Northern HarrierGoofy Northern Harrier – Nikon D810, f13, 1/500, ISO 250, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR, natural light, not baited

While I have been photographing Short-eared Owls in northern Utah I have come across this intriguing and very tame Northern Harrier over and over in the same location. I can’t get over how tame this bird behaves although I have found that juvenile birds of prey are often less skittish than adults. It sits on the fence posts and doesn’t even rouse when large livestock trucks rumble by or when noisy diesel pickups go past it. I’ve been able to take frame filling, 36.1 megapixel images of it using my D810 in full frame mode (FX) and all it does is look at me curiously, there are no signs of the bird being stressed.

As goofy as the harrier looks in the image above I probably look even goofier as I study it through my lens and at home on my monitor.

Rousing young Northern HarrierRousing young Northern Harrier – Nikon D810, f13, 1/640, ISO 250, -1.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This harrier’s plumage fascinates me. I am presuming this is a first spring bird, meaning that it hatched last year and that this is its first spring. I can see some gray in the primaries, the back and a few gray feathers in the facial disc and nape.

Northern Harrier preening in Box Elder CountyNorthern Harrier preening in Box Elder County – Nikon D810, f13, 1/400, ISO 250, -0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The breast of this particular harrier is light and the center of it is has very few marks or streaks.

I hope that this individual, very cooperative harrier sticks around the area where I have been seeing and photographing it because I would like to observe it over the summer and into the fall to watch as its plumage develops and changes as the bird ages.

Life is good.



  1. Elephant's Child May 28, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    What a privilege to see. Thank you.

  2. Glenn Nevill May 28, 2016 at 1:34 pm

    Nice clear wonderful images

  3. Patty Chadwick May 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

    The crispness and clarity of detail in these images, especially the second and last is wonderful. On this doofy iPad, the bird almost looks like some kind of parrot in the first image…go figure!

  4. Bob McPherson May 28, 2016 at 6:43 am

    Beautiful images Mia. You have captured his attention and he certainly is admiring you.

  5. Liz Cormack May 28, 2016 at 6:42 am

    How lucky for you! Wonderful shots!

  6. Lois Bryan May 28, 2016 at 6:19 am

    He’s a beauty … how fun for you!!! And for us!!! Can’t wait to see more!!

Comments are closed.