The Captivating Hovering of Northern Harriers

A few days ago, I shared a photo of a Female Northern Harrier in Flight. Today, I want to share with you another photo of this amazing bird, but this time with it hovering and hunting.

Hovering Female Northern Harrier
Hovering Female Northern Harrier (Circus hudsonius)

I was lucky enough to spot this Northern Harrier in a small field located north of the Lower Scarborough at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. As an avid Wildlife Photographer, I always try to capture these moments in the most respectful way possible. That’s why I opted to photograph this Harrier from inside my pickup parked on the side of the road. This location has proven to be ideal as I don’t seem to disturb the bird while taking pictures.

Northern Harriers are known for their unique hunting technique of hovering over fields, scanning for prey. This bird’s incredible ability to stay motionless in mid-air while scanning the ground for food is simply mesmerizing. Their wings move in a circular motion, creating lift and helping them maintain their position in the air. This technique also allows them to keep a close eye on their prey, giving them the perfect opportunity to strike.

While hovering, Northern Harriers are incredibly agile, able to change direction quickly and without hesitation. They use their keen sense of hearing to locate prey, honing in on the rustling of small mammals like mice and voles in the grass below.

The Northern Harrier is truly a remarkable bird, and being able to capture its unique hunting technique is a true privilege. So if you ever find yourself in a field, keep your eyes peeled for this incredible bird in action! And remember, always be respectful of wildlife and their habitats while photographing them.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R5
  • Lens: Canon RF 800mm F11 IS STM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: March 4, 2023 (10:22 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f11 (Fixed)
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200
  • ISO: 2000 (Auto)
  • Focal Length: 800 mm