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.
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.
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.