Early Spring Chukar

Yawning Chukar

Yawning Chukar – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1250, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 285mm, natural light

Yesterday it looked like I was going to get skunked, the clouds kept moving in and out, mostly in when there was a bird nearby and out when there weren’t any birds around. The wind was blowing, not nearly a gale but it was coming from the north and felt icy and wind can often times keep birds down. I’d gotten a few Western Meadowlark images I didn’t feel were going to be that great so I felt skunked.

Before leaving Antelope Island though we drove around near the marina and I spotted this Chukar on a boulder and in between the shadows of the clouds racing by I was able to take a few well lit images. The Chukar wasn’t calling in this frame, it was yawning.

Calling ChukarCalling Chukar – Nikon D300, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 235mm, natural light

Before too long I heard the sound of wings and the noises that Chukars make when they are disturbed or flying (or both) nearby and this Chukar reacted to their presence by calling.

Chukar stretchingChukar stretching – Nikon D300, f8, 1/400, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 235mm, natural light

And it also did a stretch. I wish the stretched out wing actually showed in this image but I don’t get to see them stretch often so I am happy.

Chukar calling in early springChukar calling in early spring – Nikon D300, f8, 1/1000, ISO 500, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 285mm, natural light

Right after it stretched it began calling again. The call can be heard here, a little more than half way down the page. It is breeding season for the Chukars so I expect I’ll be hearing them quite often.

Chukar on a boulderChukar on a boulder – Nikon D300, f8, 1/500, ISO 500, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 228mm, natural light

Some times there is one bird that makes (or perhaps saves) a day, yesterday it was this Chukar for me. I can say I didn’t get skunked!


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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.


  1. I would love to get skunked like this. I’ve never seen a Chukar. It’s on my short list of birds with “science fiction plumage.”

  2. Wow, the colors in these photos are spectacular. I especially love the stretching. I’m jealous of your talent Mia.

    • Bryce, I’m jealous of your painting and drawing talent. But I can now wear your art on my back! Love the T Shirts you did for hawk Watch International, Ron gave me one as a gift.

  3. Beautiful spring day with the Chukar.

  4. Jane Chesebrough

    Amused by the actions and always enjoy seeing your Chukars. We don’t get them here, the closest is Grey Partridge.

    • Jane, we have Gray Partridges here too but not as many as Chukars and they are far harder to locate. I did see some a few weeks ago up near Golden Spike National Monument.

  5. it s nice to see all the positions he takes for you, like in studio lol
    well done mia ☺

  6. Glad you didn’t get skunked!! Really beautiful shots of a really lovely bird!

  7. It feels like spring just looking at the light in these, Mia. And I love the series – when you scroll through them quickly it almost looks like it’s doing a dance :-)

  8. Such a pretty bird and so glad you didn’t get skunked. We had gale force winds yesterday and not only were the birds down so were we…in the house!

  9. What nice scenery you have now that everything is melting, those shrubs look really nice.

  10. Great shooting Mia, nicely blogged. Love your work! :)

  11. wonderful shots Mia, a really pretty bird.

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