Northern Harrier

Northern Harrier

One of the least common birds of prey breeding in New Hampshire is the Northern Harrier (formerly Marsh Hawk). At present, we suspect this ground-nester breeds only in scattered sites across Coos County.

Northern Harriers are now listed as Endangered in the state and we believe the population is declining, but no comprehensive field survey of this species’ distribution or breeding status has been done in almost two decades.

Northern Harrier monitoring in New Hampshire is currently supported by funding from NH Fish & Game. Our new contract work began in July 2019. NH Audubon’s conservation staff and volunteers confirmed ONE successful nest, and found juveniles at two additional sites. NH Audubon is seeking additional support to further enhance this exciting new research initiative. Spring is an exciting time to be looking for harriers with low leafless vegetation and active courtship displays. We welcome volunteer assistance or financial support of our efforts as we investigate harriers in the North Country and historical breeding sites downstate. 

Project Leader: Chris Martin

Photos, from the top: adult male Northern Harrier, by Kameko Walker; circle image by Jack Dorsey.

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We regularly observe and count 14 species at NH Audubon’s Raptor Observatories.

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Founded in 1914, NH Audubon’s mission is to protect New Hampshire’s natural environment for wildlife and for people. It is an independent statewide membership organization with four nature centers throughout the state. Expert educators give programs to children, families, and adults at centers and in schools. Staff biologists and volunteers conduct bird conservation efforts such as the Peregrine Falcon restoration. NH Audubon protects thousands of acres of wildlife habitat and is a voice for sound public policy on environmental issues. For information on NH Audubon, including membership, volunteering, programs, sanctuaries, and publications, call 224-9909, or visit www.nhaudubon.org.