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Bird of the Week: Northern Harrier

Northern Harriers might be one of the more underrated raptor species in Michigan, but that doesn’t make them any less cool. These birds are easily recognized by their slim bodies, long tails and owl-like face. While they’re not related to owls, they share some characteristics with them, including a facial disk to help them hear their prey. These birds prefer marshes and grasslands with low vegetation and can be seen gliding low to the ground when looking for food. Male Northern Harriers typically have one or two mates at a time but can have up to five if the resources are available. Males do all the hunting while females stay at the nest incubating the eggs and taking care of the chicks. Male and females aggressively defend their nests, chasing away any intruder who gets too close.

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