Adult Prairie Falcon after a mealAdult Prairie Falcon after a meal – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1250, ISO 640, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light, not baited

There was some beautiful light yesterday after several days of gloomy gray so I had to get out to see if I remembered how to use my camera.

After leaving Antelope Island I spotted this adult Prairie Falcon perched on a rock near the shoulder of the causeway. It was obvious that the falcon had just finished a meal because there was blood showing on the ventral feathers, there were bits of meat on the talons and most importantly the bird’s crop was bulging. The crop is an expandable muscular pouch near the throat or gullet used for food storage prior to the digestive process. In this image the crop extends down from just below the bill to just slightly above the raised foot and talons of the falcon and side to side to the frontal edge of the mantle and scapulars.

I wish I had been in a better position with a better angle of light but due to vegetation growing along the road there were just a few clear areas between the Rabbitbrush to get an unobstructed view of the Prairie Falcon but I do like how the photo shows off the full crop.