Winter Birds of the Fields: Northern Harriers, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks

Eastern Starlings

Eastern Starlings

There is always something to see out there in the cold if you bother to bundle up and look.  With the many sightings of Snowy Owl that others in the area have had, I’ve been driving the country roads, keeping my eyes peeled for white humps in white fields, turning up only a few plastic bags in trees.  But I did come across a Northern Shrike which is a wonderful find, Snow Buntings, and Horned Larks.  The Northern Harriers are patrolling the fields now, and someday if I get lucky (and persistent,) I will find the Short-eared Owls and the occasional Rough-legged Hawk.  None of the pictures I got today are worth putting on the wall, except maybe the starlings, unfortunately, but I still had a good time.

Female Northern Harrier

The female Northern Harrier is dark brown above, darkly streaked below.  The white rump patch above the long tail is diagnostic.

Snow Buntings

Snow buntings look so much whiter when they’re not in the snow!

Horned Larks

Horned larks eating the weed seeds in the field.  You can barely make out the “horns” on the bird in front.  They’re not always visible.

Lauren Shaffer

Lauren Shaffer wrote 140 posts

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Comments

  • lucy sallstrom

    Can’t stand the starlings, but they sure are cute. It would be nice to know they are food for hawks or something. I thing they do not taste good. lol

  • lucy sallstrom

    correction: think

    • Lauri Shaffer

      Lucy, I agree with you! I’m so glad they don’t come to our feeder which has only sunflower seed, but for some reason one nested in our gutter last summer, right outside the kitchen door. I decided to leave him be so I could observe him. They are interesting, I have to admit!

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