PRAIRIE LIFE

I frequent the Garland Prairie area in northern Arizona and have seen Northern Harriers and Ferruginous Hawks numerous times. Birds of prey can soar easily to look over large areas seeking small rodents, reptiles, and small birds all year-long.

NORTHERN HARRIER ADULT
NORTHERN HARRIER ADULT
NORTHERN HARRIER JUVENILE
NORTHERN HARRIER JUVENILE

The Northern Harrier is a long-winged and long-tailed hawk found in open areas, such as meadows and fields. They have a distinct white rump patch. Harriers have an owlish face that helps them hear mice and voles beneath the vegetation. Often flying with their wings held in a V-shape, low over the ground when hunting, weaving back and forth as they watch and listen for these small mammals. They eat on the ground, and they perch on low posts or trees. Harriers are social raptors, they will roost communally in winter. While in open field areas, two or more pairs may work the same area simultaneously. I saw these Northern Harriers over this past winter. I saw one of them catch something in its talon and take off, creating some distance before landing to consume.

FERRUGINOUS HAWK
FERRUGINOUS HAWK
FERRUGINOUS HAWK
FERRUGINOUS HAWK

The Ferruginous Hawk is a large raptor found in  arid prairies, deserts, and grasslands of the west. They are the largest hawk in North America. They will hunt from a tree or high in the sky, searching for squirrels, jackrabbits, or prairie dogs. I see these birds soaring, gliding and hovering, as they search for prey. I saw this one in the early fall of this year. Check out more: FERRUGINOUS HAWK

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