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Most of the harriers I saw in the Valley this winter were males, I was surprised, but perhaps it makes sense. I think I saw 4 or 5 males.

David Merker
Etna, NH




On Mar 28, 2012, at 1:17 PM, Jane Stein wrote:

> They are, but it's tricky especially in spring after the immatures' rufous underparts have faded to buffy.  Best field mark, if you get the right light and angle, is that contrary to what one usually expects, the adult females have more extensive streaking underneath than immatures do, all the way down the breast, sides and flanks, whereas immatures have the streaking mostly confined to the breast and are usually only lightly streaked, if at all, on the sides and unstreaked on the lower belly.  Sounds easy, but the difference isn't stark and it can be hard to see.
> 
> Like American Kestrels, a number of second-year or adult males particularly overwinter in VT, so it's hard to know where individuals one sees in the spring are coming from.  (Harriers are also a very early migrant, so the first migratory males likely have already been coming through.)
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> Jane
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> On 3/28/2012 12:51 PM, Hector Galbraith wrote:
>> My last posting should have stated that "I do not know if females and
>> immatures are separable".
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>> H
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>> Hector Galbraith
>> 
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