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Chris' Camera Bag

A Photo Web log by Chris Young

Hawks on the move

March 17, 2013 at 06:11 PM

When we think of spring migration, we envision endless flocks of snow geese and ducks in bright breeding plumage.

But other birds are on the move, too.

Northern harriers, also known as marsh hawks, are commonly seen in Illinois during spring and fall migration.

They are listed as Illinois state-endangered because few choose to stay in Illinois to nest.

These pictures were taken at the Emiquon National WIldlife Refuge and The Nature Conservancy’s Emiquon Preserve (above) both in Fulton County.

Most harriers seen are females or immatures.

The males (pictured below in a file photo) are silvery gray.

The white rump patch is a surefire way to tell harriers from other hawks. Also, note the owl-like facial disk.

Harriers often are found in the same habitats as short-eared owls.

A northern harrier hunts from a hover over the Wilder Tract of the Emiquon National Wildlife Refuge March 8.

This adult male northern harrier was seen a few years back hunting a railroad right of way in Morgan County.

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