Dec 292011

I was driving along the auto route at Lower Klamath NWR with this harrier cruising parallel to the road, when all of a sudden she swooped down upon a coot and tried to drown it in the canal near the road, with much flapping. She held the coot under for 2 or 3 solid minutes, but then inexplicably gave up even though the coot was motionless… the coot then paddled away at a leisurely rate like nothing had happened. If only I had that kind of power to forgive and forget.

Slightly larger versions of the pics can be accessed from the front page post – scroll to the bottom and click on thumbnails (, not sure how to get the gallery images larger yet.

  17 Responses to “Northern Harrier vs. Coot”

  1. Wow! What a great scene! I’ve never seen anything like that. I wonder why the harrier gave up? Fantastic shots!

  2. Fantastic series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  3. Wow, sound slike an amazing sight to see. Cool shot of the hawk!

  4. Great captures of really interesting action.

  5. Oh what drama! I probably would have blown it with the pictures being all excited about my good fortune. Well done!

  6. Interesting experience. Wish I could have seen the pictures but not one was showing.

  7. Just managed to get to see your glorious shots of the event. Just fantastic!!!

  8. What perfect timing, camera on alert, nature doing it’s thing, just superb action shots. It could be that the Harrier knew it could not make the lift with Coot. I have seen Red-shoulderd Hawks have a large snake, yelling for help from a mate and then leaving snake behind…nature is grand!

  9. Amazing sequence. A great sight to witness.

  10. Wow — amazing series! Truly stunning shots!

  11. Awesome photos! Wow, I’m impressed!

  12. These are sublime! What brilliant camera work too. Almost beyond comprehension. Thank you for sharing these remarkable moments. Bravo!
    A superb 2012 to you!

  13. An incredibly awesome series of action shots Randy! The first photo with the bird flying next to the vehicle is excellent all by itself but the last shot really shows the power of the Northern Harrier, and in the water too!

    I have never seen anything like this but according Birds of North America Online, the Northern Harrier in summer does take “small- and medium-sized mammals, primarily rodents, birds (chiefly passerines and small waterbirds), reptiles, and frogs.” They also state that “males prefer more open habitats than females, males take more birds than females do, females exclude males from preferred hunting habitats during winter and Northern Harriers are known to subdue large prey by drowning.”

    I didn’t know that!

  14. Thanks guys. Hi Pat, thanks for reading (I love your work). Thanks for the info Larry, interesting. Arija, thinking maybe you stopped by while I was figuring out how to post a gallery, took a couple tries… sorry about that.

  15. Great photos! And I am cracking up at the last line of your narrative. Too funny!

  16. Randy, I am a longtime photographer just starting to photo birds. Would you be willing to share the technical details of these photos? Thanks! They are extraordinary.

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