Hello VT Birders:
In response/support to Jane's statement about seeing more adult male
Northern Harriers in winter:
In general, mature males in good health (the breeders) tend to drift south
from their breeding territories as little as possible and return to them
quickly in late winter/spring to secure it once again.
Given that VT sits at the northern edge of the wintering range for Northern
Harriers, we end up seeing a higher percentage of "gray ghosts" roughly
We observe this with Northern Harriers because they are sexual dimorphic.
This holds true for other species, like Red-tailed Hawks, but there is no
way to sex them so it goes unnoticed. Even if you are banding a Red-tailed
Hawk, it gets reported to the banding lab as "sex unknown" due to
Wintering raptors in the Champlain Valley is one of the highlights of being
a VT birder, at least from my perspective.
On Mon, Nov 11, 2013 at 2:42 PM, Jane Stein <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Broad-winged hawks are the only raptor that all leave for the winter. All
> the others are partial migrants, and our winter population here is made up
> of some year-round residents and some that have moved down from further
> north to spend the winter.
> Somebody with better information please correct me on this, but it's my
> impression that with Harriers, the females and immatures tend to migrate
> more, and we often end up with more adult male "grey ghosts" during the
> winter. I recall on one trip several years ago counting 7 adult male
> Harriers in and around the Dead Creek area on what was probably an up year
> for the vole population.
> On 11/11/2013 2:25 PM, Barbara Powers wrote:
>> A Northern Harrier was sitting in a tree in our field. It later took off
>> to hunt. I thought they had all left for warmer climes. Nice to see it up
>> Barbara Powers
>> Manchester Center
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