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Nisqually NWR

Male Northern Harrier

I really liked these shots I took Monday at Nisqually Wildlife Refuge, but I was waiting for help on identifying the bird. I knew immediately it was a Northern Harrier, and I thought it was a male, but I wasn’t sure because it wasn’t as gray as a male is supposed to be.

Ruth Sullivan told me it was an immature male Northern Harrier, a stage where they turn from brown to gray. Of course, none of the books I have seemed to make that distinction, though my National Geographic guide did show a difference between juveniles and adults.

Immature Male Northern Harrier

It was the the brilliant white here, though, that convinced me it couldn’t be a female harrier.

Immature Male Northern Harrier