More Prairie Falcon Fun ~ This time with prey

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.

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

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 Falcon Dorsal 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 on the top of the bird’s right wing.

Full frame flight image of a Prairie Falcon Full 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 prey Prairie 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

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About Mia McPherson

I am a nature lover, wildlife watcher and a bird photographer. I first become serious about bird photography when I moved to Florida in 2004 and it wasn’t long before I was hooked (addicted is more like it). My move to the Salt Lake area of Utah was a great opportunity to continue observing their behavior and photographing birds. My approach is to photograph the birds without disturbing their natural behavior. I don't bait, use set ups or call them in. I use Nikon gear and has multiple camera bodies and lenses.

14 Comments

  1. ‘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

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

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

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

  5. Sounds like an amazing adventure! Simply stunning photos!

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

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

    Bob

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