[CT Birds] Harriers

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 29 16:12:21 EST 2015

For what it's worth (really nothing!) I don' think I ever heard the term "Gray Ghost" used for an adult male N Harrier during the 40+ years I lived in NJ before moving to CT 20+ years ago. I think Julian touched on this but there certainly are plenty of instances of males, females and juveniles of a given species having different migration patterns.
Greg HanisekWaterbury 

    On Tuesday, December 29, 2015 2:27 PM, Jim Zipp via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org> wrote:

 It's been interesting reading the comments on harrier male/female and adult/imm harrier observations.  Thought I'd dig into my old banding files from banding a couple thousand hawks in New Haven over a 15 year period from 1981 until part time banding into 1997 at a banding station Brian Wheeler and I operated.  

One of the better years for harriers was 1983 (Wow, 32 years ago!)  I suspect ratios would be similar if not total numbers.  

This is hard data but of course only so much can be drawn from it as there are other factors like immature birds being easier to capture than adults for instance but here are some numbers.
77    Total Harriers banded between Sept 3rd and Nov 5th (last day of banding operations with a snowy owl flying over us)
44% females and 56% males

3      AHY males meaning after hatch year males or "gray ghosts"8      AHY females26    HY hatch year juvenile females40    HY juvenile males
Seems that while we caught more males birds overall, we caught far less adult males than adult females.  I do not think males got smarter than females. If I remember correctly there was some speculation that adult males tended to take more inland routes but don't have any data and it could have just been a guess at the time.
If anyone cares to see a couple of shots of a sample of the breakdown I put a couple of phone shots of an old sample page of data and one of charts done the old way rather than today with input and charts computer generated.
Jim Zipp

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