Northern Harrier Hunting Jackrabbits


April, 22, 2018- About a half hour after sunrise this Harrier was working the field near me.


The Petaluma River Wetlands are found along the approximately 10 mile length of the Petaluma River. The river is actually a brackish tidal slough that feeds into the San Francisco Bay via its northern section named San Pablo Bay.


She was hunting this area in their usual systematic way and stayed at about this height for most of her several passes.


Then I saw a jackrabbit bolt and the chase went into high gear. Here we see a jackrabbit’s ears to the right of the Harrier on the ground. I could not see what the Harrier had or missed, but it was kind of strange seeing the rabbit’s ears in plain sight so near the raptor.


A minute later the Harrier had departed and the jack was alone as far as I could tell.


And within seconds the jackrabbit was moving.


And the Harrier was chasing after with steady, serious deep and powerful wing pumps.


The pursuit continued with the raptor visually locked on to the rabbit.


Eventually the jackrabbit made it to the safety of the tall reeds and the Harrier peeled off to other parts of the Petaluma River Wetlands.