• American Camp parade ground looking west

    San Juan Island

    National Historical Park Washington

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  • English Camp Visitor Contact Station on Winter Schedule

    The English Camp visitor contact station in the Royal Marine Barracks is closed for the season, starting September 2. Grounds are open daily from dawn to 11 p.m.

  • American Camp Visitor Center on Winter Schedule

    The American Camp visitor center is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from September 2 to June 6, 2015. Grounds remain open daily from dawn to 11 p.m. Telephone 360-378-2240, ext. 2227 or 2226 for information. More »

Northern Harrier

Northern harrier
The Northern harrier frequents American Camps open prairies, on the hunt for small mammals. They are distinctive for the broad white patch above their tail feathers.
Steve Byland
 

You’ll see these slender, long-winged raptors gliding low over the prairie like kites, patrolling for voles and other small mammals, frogs, reptiles, and insects.

They may hover briefly with quick, short wingbeats, then dive quickly to surprise their prey. You can’t miss them: they have a broad white patch on their rump.

If you’re close enough, you may see their round, owl-like faces. But don’t get too close. Protective females will repeatedly dive at any person or bird approaching too close to a nest.

 
Fast facts Northern harrier

Did You Know?

Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby, RN

Capt. Geoffrey Phipps Hornby of HMS Tribune refused Governor James Douglas’s orders to land Royal Marines on San Juan Island realizing that his opposite, Capt. George Pickett, would open fire. The policy of the Royal Navy was only to fire if fired upon. More...