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Harrier Hawk - Bird Watching Fun


We’ve been doing some bird watching lately and were thrilled to see a Harrier Hawk has been seen hunting around the wetlands and fields here at Sauder Village. In this video, you’ll see the hawk in a tree near our Nature Center in the Historic Village! The Northern Harrier is a bird of prey found in Canada and the northernmost United States. It has an owlish face that helps it hear mice, voles, and rabbits beneath the vegetation.

The Northern Harrier has a distinctive look even from a long distance away – watch for a slim, long-tailed hawk gliding low over a marsh or grassland, holding its wings in a V-shape, and sort of hovering as it hunts. Males and females both give a fast series of kek notes lasting 1–2 seconds. When threatened by nest predators or mobbed by small birds, they use higher-pitched kek notes.

Harriers don’t migrate long distances, just moving a little farther south where it’s warmer in the winter. They generally nest in swamps and in areas surrounded by water to reduce access by predators. They will occasionally nest in trees and can nests can also be found in grasslands and areas of cereal crop where they make a large nest platform out of grass and sticks. Northern harrier populations declined throughout their North American range in the 20th century due to the loss and degradation of marshlands.

Spring is a great time to enjoy some bird watching in Ohio! Although bird migration takes place in some form every month of the year, in spring it becomes much more pronounced than in any other season. Looking for a good book or resource to help identify birds? Two recommended resources are the Peterson Field Guide to Birds or the Audobon’s app

Be sure to visit other sections of the History Bound page of our website for more fun photos, videos and activities!
Down on the Farm
Hands-on History
Explore the Outdoors
In the Kitchen
What Is It?
People from the Past