2:00 minutes (1.57 MB)
Download this Episode
Out in the arid West, miles north of Winnemucca, a small caravan of birdwatchers searches for raptors along a distant ridgeline of basalt and sage. Nearby, a circle of green, created by pivot irrigation, attracts Northern Harriers that hunt over fields and marshes. Then, field trip leader Harry Fuller calls out: “We got a male Harrier ‘sky dancing’ over the pivot on the right up here!” In flight, a Northern Harrier is creating a high-amplitude sine wave, rolling on its back, turning like a corkscrew through the air. It’s part of a courtship display. Many raptors perform sky dances, but perhaps none so amazing as the harriers.