A Birds of Prey Battle

Short-eared Owl watching the sky

I recently ventured out in the county before work in hopes of spotting a Northern Shrike that had been reported in the area. No shrike for me but I did get a fantastic consolation prize – seeing 7 Short-eared Owls in the early morning light and fog. I stayed still and silent while watching them chase each other. A few even flew right over my head. They didn’t pay much attention to me, other than a quick glance over at me. What a great way to start the day!

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With my time up, I headed back to my car. As I got to the door of my car, I looked up and witnessed what would become a battle of epic proportions. Ok. That’s a bit of an exaggeration but I did witness a fierce battle over prey between one of the owls and two Northern Harriers. I saw the owl plunge into the snow and catch something. Within seconds, a Harrier flew over and landed right behind the owl, waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal the catch. The owl jumped up out of the field and flew off carrying the prey in its talons. A Harrier took off in hot pursuit. The Harrier easily caught up. They tangled and screeched at each other. The owl broke free but was quickly pursued by a second Harrier. The second bird was successful in stealing the prey but unfortunately for both birds, the potential meal fell into the bushes. This all unfolded in a matter of seconds. What a show!

(Click on the the first image to view full size)

4 thoughts on “A Birds of Prey Battle

  1. Thanks for sharing! Great photos as well. I’ve been teaching about raptors and your pictures make it come alive for my students.

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