Northern Harrier is one of the Bitterroot’s most common birds of prey
Flying low over the field, a midsized hawk gently glides inches over the tall grass.
Suddenly, it maneuvers and begins to hover, maintaining its position with a sharp eye on the quarry below. As it descends to the ground it disappears in the grass. Magically, it reappears and flies off to perch on a wooden fence post and consume what appears to be a vole.
Grasping the rodent firmly in its talons, it uses its sharp beak to rip open the protein rich meal.
Appropriately referred to as a Marsh Hawk in the past, this raptor is now recognized as the Northern Harrier, one of the Bitterroot’s most common birds of prey. Standing about 12-inches tall with a wing span near 26 inches, this raptor is easily identified with its white rump patch, which is quite visible as the bird flies away from a human observer.