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Juvenile Northern Harrier

Posted on Dec 16, 2016

I recently wrote about our winter raptors, and boy oh boy, did we ever get the winter in Chautauqua County! Short-eared Owls (Asio flammeus) and Northern Harriers (Circus cyaneus), like the juvenile recently photographed below, are able to hunt and survive in deep snow, but we may be pushing the limit for some birds in the region now.

The snow cover and frigid temperatures are shaking up the local mix of birds of all sorts of species, from ducks to songbirds. A Short-eared Owl was spotted in the county earlier this week, and no doubt others may be easier to find now as they hunt the white grasslands, fields and farms, or stand out on perches or poles. Please do keep an eye out for more information on a training session at RTPI in early January for volunteers who wish to help us with our winter raptor surveys for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in Chautauqua County.

Scott Kruitbosch
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator