A skunk for a snack

Jim Jensen of Esko shared these pictures of a raptor that had been feeding on a skunk in their field on Sunday.
Any thoughts on what kind of raptor?

Jim first thought it was a rough-legged hawk, but a friend of his suggested a northern harrier.
I was interested to note in one of my bird books that a rough-legged hawk often will share hunting grounds with a harrier.
Jim took this picture with his Canon 4x zoom. He’s thinking of getting a camera with a higher zoom at a not-so-high price. Suggestions, anyone?

Jim writes that two vultures checked out the skunk first, but the hawk/harrier chased them off.
Nothing like raw skunk for a snack, I guess.

Your bird pictures, stories and advice extremely welcome at: jlundy@duluthnews.com.

5 thoughts on “A skunk for a snack

  1. On one of the pictures the tail resembled a Harrier, but the wings are too broad in my estimation. So I am open for opinions. Yes, there are a lot of raptors on the wing this time of year. Saw a pair of Bald Eagles teamed up on a meal about 20 yards off the highway 1 in Barnes co.

  2. My guess is also a Northern Harrier, or “marsh hawk” as we called them back home. It has the long narrow tail with the cotton tail rabbit like, white patch. The top picture also looks as if it is in the classic harrier “hover” mode.

  3. I am not sure what kind of raptor is in the picture, but I am seeing lots of eagles, hawks, harriers, and owlsfrom where we live near Hartley Park:. I’m also keeping my cats and chickens inside. I already lost one duck to a raptor. At least he probably ate the thing unlike the mink and pine martins that just kill everything and take a few bites! I do appreciate crows though – they seem to try to chase away every flying predator that comes in our neighborhood. Thanks crows!

  4. The second picture is definitely a Northern Harrier (or Marsh Hawk as they were called when I started birding). The white on the rump is the key. The wings rule out an accipiter.

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