Payton, Age 10, Baldwin, MD
“Mom, Sally and I are going to play in the field,” called Mia.
“Okay and have fun!” she replied. The two girls raced through their yard and to the field. Out of breath, the girls plopped down and ran their fingers over and around the tall grass.
“Gross!” cried Mia, and she jumped up from her spot.
Sally looked where she was pointing, “So? It’s just a mouse. Just leave it alone.” Then a sound much like a hyena’s cry pounded in their ears.
“What was that?” asked Mia. Sally reluctantly got up and stared at the sky.
“Don’t worry, that is a Northern Harrier,” Sally said.
Mia stared at Sally angrily. “How do you know?”
“I studied them in school, Einstein.”
“Prove it,” Mia challenged.
“First question, what do they eat?”
“Easy, small mammals, birds, reptiles and bugs,” Sally replied.
“Where do they live?” asked Mia.
“Marshes and fields like here.”
Mia stomped her foot. “Dang,” she muttered.
“Listen!” Sally shushed Mia. It sounded like something was rolling in the grass. Sally slowly walked towards the sound, Mia at her heels. There was the Northern Harrier struggling in the grass.
“Its foot is stuck’” cried Mia.
“Yeah, it was chasing that mouse we saw,” Sally added, gesturing to the mouse as it scurried away.
“Hey look, there is a piece of cloth over there. I’ll be right back. Stay here,” Sally whispered. She slipped away and came back with the cloth in her hand. “All we have to do is put this cloth over the bird’s…”
“Harry, call the bird Harry!” Mia corrected.
“Okay, Harry. We have to put the cloth over Harry’s head so he can’t see us and untangle his foot,” Sally explained.
“First of all, are you using a brush? Second, I am not doing that,” Mia said and crossed her arms.
“Fine I’ll do it, and no I am not using a brush.”
“Oh okay,” Mia replied nodding.
“Here goes nothing,” Sally muttered. Slowly she snuck towards the majestic bird. When Harry turned its back, Sally sprang into action. Harry instantly struggled and flapped its long wings and screeched loudly. Sally reached down and started to untangle the grass. The Northern Harrier’s sharp talons narrowly missed her arm and finally it was free! Sally grabbed the cloth, let go of the bird, and jumped back so that Harry could fly away. He flapped his wings and took off.
Mia clapped and jumped up and down “Yay for Harry!”
“Look!” said Sally and pointed up at Harry. Its black tipped wings and head and pale gray body disappeared behind the clouds.
“Wow!” Mia exclaimed. Sally and Mia walked home. On the way, Sally threw the cloth away.
“You know, Northern Harriers are endangered and people don’t usually see them,” Sally mentioned.
“But we did see one,” Mia said sounding unsure.
“Exactly,” Sally replied.
This page was last updated on June 17, 2011 by the KIWW Webmaster.