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Old Jul 29, 2005, 12:37 AM   #1
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I found a new location today that was full of herons, pelicans and this medium sized Northern Harrier. In any event, this bird was being continuously attacked by a large group of small birds, mostly RWBB's, and it began to dive on me as well since it was trying to take care of business in every direction imaginable. I don't blame it, as you will see from one of the photos below, it was being surrounded.

First, a few shots of the poor burdened raptor






Closer The bird would fly right at me and then veer about 10 feet in front of me. I know, some will say it was protecting it's young and that is probably true, but I was nowhere near the young and know exactly where they probably were. This bird was reacting to everything around it as the blackbirds were giving it no time to think. I had seen them attacking it long before I even began shooting. As you can see in the second photo below, it was slightly outnumbered. More birds are in the photo but I just didn't have a wide angle lens



Attacked



Blackbird attacker behind



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Old Jul 29, 2005, 1:36 AM   #2
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Beautiful shots. Those little guys can be aggressive.
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 4:04 AM   #3
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Great shots as usual Norm. Love the second one though! He has a dazed and confused
look which fits well with your story!
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 9:24 AM   #4
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These are really wonderful images Norm. And I know about this bird - he lives in Brooklyn. The Male mostly kills small birds, while the female is more apt to take rats and other mammals.

This one looks nothing like my Brooklyn birds. It looks like a female, but the colors are different from the ones I see here. That white pillow is the distinctive characteristic. I always called these guys "Marsh Hawks," but that name has gone out of style...

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Old Jul 29, 2005, 11:19 AM   #5
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Thanks you all, I appreciate the compliments and comments.

Dave, your information is extremely interesting to me as I saw what I believe wasanother Marsh Hawk in the same area, but from a distance,just as I was leaving, and it's color was different. Below is a small photo of this one. Please let me know if this color is closer to the ones that you have. As well, you probably saved me a number of good photos since I couldn't find this photo and checked my camera for the card that I had not downloaded and probably wouldn't have since I thought that I had downloaded all photos (I took about 3 gigs yesterday and I have a number of cards that sometimes I lose track of). I owe you one
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Old Jul 29, 2005, 11:20 AM   #6
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Dave, here's one of the photos that you saved for me. Thanks again:


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Old Jul 29, 2005, 11:33 AM   #7
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This second Hawk is definitely a Female. The males are gray colored on top. They both have that distinctive white "pillow" at the base of the tail.

The males are smaller and hunt songbirds on the wing...

The males that I see in Brookly are distinctly gray, whereas the one you have shown, which I thought was a female is browner than the ones I've seen - presumably it is then a male?

They are strange Hawks anyway, looking much like owls...

They also have a unique way of soaring. When hunting mammals they glide low over the marshes with the wings in a "raised" position. So they fly along like this, see a bunny or rat, and merely twist the wing and alter direction 90 degree's, and whammo - surprised bunny indeed!

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Old Jul 30, 2005, 12:39 AM   #8
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Thanks for the info, Dave, I went out again tonight and got a closer look at the female. She definitely has a more feminine sound, if you will, it's not as harsh as the male. She's darker overall, and a real nice looking bird. I also think she told the hubby to quit picking on me.
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Old Jul 30, 2005, 2:56 AM   #9
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nice shots, I gather it was pretty dark or at least not sunny.
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