Western Meadowlark lift off

Western Meadowlark lifting offWestern Meadowlark lifting off – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 640, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

This Western Meadowlark image was taken last month on Antelope Island State Park. I meant to post it earlier but forgot because I got so busy trying to set up my new computer. Life outside of bird photography does get in the way at times.

If you have ever tried to photograph a Western Meadowlark in flight or lifting off you probably know they are very fast and that it is a challenge because of their speed. I should have bumped my ISO up to get a faster shutter speed when I took this image to freeze the action of the wings but I’ve also grown to appreciate how a touch of blur can add a sense of movement to an image like this. The face, bill and eye are sharp and in my opinion that is what is most critical.

I feel fortunate to have the opportunities to photograph Western Meadowlarks here year round.


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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 to pursue my passion for photographing birds.


  1. Merrill Ann Gonzales

    Oh, Mia, What a beauty! I will never ever be able to come to a meadowlark in my own life, but your photo leave little that I will miss except its marvelous song. This photo reveals so much about the bird, its structure, it’s movement… it’s stunning beauty. So many thanks I can’t count them!

  2. Really nice! Every time I see a Meadowlark around here, he has a little rocket attached to his back and I know my frame will be empty by the time I press the shutter release! :)

    • I found the Eastern Meadowlarks difficult to photograph while I was in Florida. I too think they have a little rocket attached to them and when they see a camera lens they rocket out of sight!

  3. A poster print, I really like the colors and the wing outstretching.

  4. A most exquisite photograph of this beautiful Western Meadowlark! There is great motion captured here, Mia! Cool springing motion of the feet and wing position.

  5. This is awesome Mia! Nice shot of a beautiful bird!

  6. There is a noted oil painter from Germany, Schwartz, who specialized in nothing but wildlife. My favorite piece (loved them all) was a pair of whistling swans, and the head, bills and eyes were painted with great detail, the wings were a blur of color and motion. The photo is so fabulous for you to have captured the essence of flight. Good Shot…

  7. Doesn’t that brings tears to your eyes, fantastic Lark photos.

  8. I don’t think you got too much blur at all and am so jealous you still have meadowlarks. They are our harbengers of spring and are gone quite quickly. I’ve gotten them sitting still but never taking off so I love this shot….look at those long skinny “chicken legs” – LOL

    • Thanks Sherry, your comment about “chicken legs” had me laughing because that is what they look like in this pose. It gets so much colder in Montana than here most of the time so I can see why they need to leave just to find food. But, I’ll send some your ay this coming spring!

  9. Excellent shot of the take-off,Mia.

  10. Fantastic!
    I love the meadowlarks!

  11. What an awesome capture of a beautiful bird, I love the wing position and the way the Meadowlark nearly fills the frame:)

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