Northern Harrier Hunting Jackrabbits

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

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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.

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

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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.

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

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And within seconds the jackrabbit was moving.

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

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

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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.