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Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus)
This is the long tailed hawk with a white rump patch. It is often seen soaring
in a "wobbly" fashion low over marshes, wet meadows, and open fields with wings
held out in a shallow "V." This hawk is the only Michigan hawk that nests on the
ground, typically in tall grasses or under shrubs near wetlands. They feed
largely on small rodents, particularly meadow voles. Harrier numbers are much
reduced for reasons believed related to the destruction of its marsh habitat by
humans. They are listed as a species of Special Concern by the Michigan DNR.
Northern harriers, once known by the fitting name of "marsh hawk," are found
Statewide, but now nest most commonly in the eastern Upper Peninsula.