One of the orphaned northern harriers brought to VINS in August was released back into the wild last Friday. We released her in northern Vermont, full of open land with rodents aplenty.
While in our care, this harrier doubled in size and left a stunning, full-grown raptor. She spent time in our flight cage building up her flight muscles and hunting for live mice in her enclosure. We live-prey test our raptors before releasing them to the wild to ensure they can hunt and survive on their own once out of our care.
You may remember this harrier came to VINS with a sibling. Unfortunately, the sibling did not come to us in as good health as the other -- presenting thinner and weaker -- and did not survive.
With migration season upon us, this hawk will instinctively migrate to a warmer climate, leaving the cold Vermont winter behind. She'll head to southern parts of the United States, or perhaps as far as Central or South America. Photos by VINS volunteer Chiara Cetrangolo.