The Perils of Ground Nesting

Recently, VINS received two juvenile northern harriers into care after their nest had been destroyed. Northern harriers are hawks who can be found soaring low over open fields in search of mice and other rodents.

Harriers are ground-nesters, and come haying season in Vermont, the offspring of any ground-nesters (also including such birds as bobolinks and killdeer) have a heck of a time surviving the blades and wheels of balers and other farming equipment. In this case, the farmer’s equipment disrupted the nest, but left the two juvenile harriers unscathed. However, without the tall grass around to act as natural protection to predators, the parents flew off and the young were left in the great wide open to fend for themselves.

The farmer called VINS for help, and we took the young hawks in and have been caring for them the past three weeks. The birds are quite big now, and are in an outdoor enclosure where they can practice flying short distances from branch to branch. Soon, they will be moved into the large flight cage where they will take their first true flights in preparation for their return to the wild.


  1. Jessica on August 19, 2010 at 11:29 pm

    I'm so excited for you having NOHAs! Jealous!

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