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 (Falco mexicanus) chasing a Common Raven (Corvus corax) ~ Davis County, Utah
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.
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.
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.
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.