Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Got Rodents? Get A Harrier

Harrier hawk in pine tree

The past couple of years we have been fortunate to have a pair of Eastern harrier hawks nesting in our backyard. Why us, I do not know. It can’t be because our neighbor raises homing pigeons and flies them every day. Harriers prefer juicy, furry critters to bony birds. We have had an explosion of squirrels, rabbits and chipmunks. Now with the harrier couple and their three fledglings in the neighborhood, the few chipmunks left seem to neurotically run from bush to bush.

As far as birds go, the harriers have shown an interest in wild turkeys. We apparently also have a nest of turkeys somewhere in the back. One morning a giant ruckus erupted in the trees as a large turkey hen clumsily chased a hawk through the tree tops, sending a shower of pine needles and dead branches raining down out of the trees. The hawk retreated, leaving the angry turkey perched precariously in the tree tops. Who knew they could fly like that? Moral: don’t mess with a turkey hen who has chicks.
Some more photos below. Sorry for the quality of the pictures. They were taken with a compact camera on full optical zoom so they are a little fuzzy.


Harrier hawk in pine tree

Harrier hawk in pine tree

Harrier hawk in pine tree

Harrier hawk in pine tree

1 comment:

  1. Fabulous! I've seen full grown wild turkeys in flight around here - it's a startling sight. I think that the only reason that I'm not harassed by squirrels and the like is that there are a lot of raptors around here. Unfortunatley, there don't seem to be a lot of nocturnal hunters around. I'm looking into installing a barn owl nest box or two to remedy that. This is supposed to be the time of year when they start looking for a nesting site.

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