More Prairie Falcon Fun ~ This time with prey

/, Antelope Island State Park, Davis County, Prairie Falcons, Utah/More Prairie Falcon Fun ~ This time with prey

Prairie Falcon chasing a Common Raven Prairie Falcon  (Falco mexicanus) chasing a Common Raven (Corvus corax) – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Last week while out photographing I spotted a Prairie Falcon in the midst of a tussle with two Common Ravens in mid air. At times it seemed that the falcon was chasing the ravens and then the tables would turn and it appeared that the ravens were diving at the falcon.

Because the vehicle was still moving I was only able to get a few bad images of the tussle between the falcon and the ravens but the image above does show some of the fast and furious action that I saw.

Immediately I wondered if there were some sort of prey involved and within seconds I was able to locate a dead duck on the ice below the road. The Prairie Falcon was able to chase away the ravens and then it made several long sweeps back and forth above the prey.

 Dorsal view of a Prairie FalconDorsal view of a Prairie Falcon – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/4000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

While the Prairie Falcon was cruising above the dead duck I was able to get a few images of it in flight. I am certain that I  have photographed this particular falcon several times before because of the single light colored feather (actually the underside of the feather) on the top of the bird’s right wing.

 Full frame flight image of a Prairie FalconFull frame flight image of a Prairie Falcon – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

Photographing falcons in flight is always a challenge because they fly so fast but with practice it does become easier. The Prairie Falcon flew very close several times and I was able to get this full frame image as it cruised by without clipping anything.

 Prairie Falcon with preyPrairie Falcon with prey –  Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or set up

After making several passes over the dead duck the Prairie Falcon swooped down and grabbed the prey in its talons and flew some distance away to dine on the duck. When it landed with the prey a Bald Eagle spotted it, flew in then caused the falcon to drop the bird. The Bald Eagle grabbed the duck from the ground and flew out to land on the ice to feast on its stolen lunch.

A very interesting morning, but then nature never disappoints me.

Mia

14 Comments

  1. Michael February 13, 2013 at 9:50 am

    ‘Just stumbled in! I really enjoyed your site and Prairie Falcon images. I’ve added a link from a related post.

    http://beaverhillslife.blogspot.ca/2013/02/notes-on-charismatic-falcons-visiting.html

    • Mia McPherson February 22, 2013 at 10:09 am

      Thank you for “stumbling” in Michael, I am glad you found my site!

      There are some great action images on the page you linked, thank you for sharing it.

  2. Julie Brown January 2, 2012 at 10:20 am

    Exciting to watch I’m sure, and even better to have gotten these shots!

    • Mia McPherson January 3, 2012 at 6:52 am

      Julie, it sure was great to get these shots and very exciting to see.

  3. Larry Jordan January 1, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    Absolutely spellbinding! That third full frame shot is unbelievable! And the photo of the falcon with prey is stunning!

    • Mia McPherson January 1, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Thank you so much Larry, I was very happy to get that full frame flight shot and have it come out so sharp! I had another opportunity with a Prairie Falcon with prey today but other cars on the road messed up the shots. I’ll have to try again.

  4. Mike Masin December 31, 2011 at 12:50 pm

    Phenomenal. I’m in awe that you can get these shots while in motion! I have so much to learn.

    • Mia McPherson December 31, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      Mike, falcons move so quick that it is hard to track them so I was very happy to get several shots of this one in flight that turned out well.

  5. Tammy Karr December 31, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Sounds like an amazing adventure! Simply stunning photos!

    • Mia McPherson December 31, 2011 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks Tammy, it was a great adventure!

  6. Karen Bonsell December 28, 2011 at 8:56 am

    Mia, What a great adventure, and you captured it perfectly!

    • Mia McPherson December 28, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks so much Karen, it was a great adventure and so much fun to observe the falcon & ravens.

  7. Bob Zeller December 28, 2011 at 7:59 am

    Mia, those photos just blew me away. Wow! Utterly fantastic images.

    Bob

    • Mia McPherson December 28, 2011 at 8:05 am

      Thank you Bob, this bird was great fun to photograph and the action was happening so fast!

Comments are closed.