Northern Harrier Eating Snow Goose

I recently drove upon an amazing sight at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. I saw a Northern Harrier standing on a mat of vegetation floating in the water, feeding on what seemed to be a Snow Goose that was also on this makeshift island. Although the lighting was poor, I wanted to capture the best photo possible to document what I was witnessing. While I would have loved to capture a photo of the Harrier taking down the Goose in the water, seeing it feed on its prey on the floating vegetation mat was still remarkable.

Northern Harrier Eating Snow Goose
Northern Harrier Eating Snow Goose

Upon researching, I discovered that Northern Harriers are capable of killing Snow Geese. Despite their tendency to primarily prey on small mammals and birds, documented cases show that Northern Harriers can hunt and prey on Snow Geese. In fact, a video of a Northern Harrier eating a Snow Goose is available in one source. Moreover, these birds may hunt on the ground, especially in areas with deep snow cover, which could make it harder for them to locate their prey while airborne. This suggests that Northern Harriers can indeed hunt larger birds such as Snow Geese.

Image Information:

  • Date: 12/06/23
  • Time: 10:00 AM
  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1 L IS USM
  • ISO: 640
  • Aperture: 7.1
  • Shutter: 1/2000
  • Exp. Comp.: +1.3
  • Lens (mm): 500
  • Program Mode: Manual

2 thoughts on “Northern Harrier Eating Snow Goose”

  1. This is an amazing photograph and observation; and on a mat of floating vegetation! I had no idea Harriers could successfully prey on something as large as a Snow Goose. Thanks, Steve, for this post and the information about the capabilities of Northern Harriers.

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