And We Have Lift Off!

Willet - Run and lift offWillet – Run and lift off

 I wanted to share some bird lift off images today so I rounded up a few that showed different styles of lift offs. This Willet took the run and lift off approach from a boulder on Antelope Island State Park. The Willet’s left leg had just been on the boulder.

Western Meadowlark - Push and lift offWestern Meadowlark – Push and lift off

This Western Meadowlark pushed off with its legs to lift off, its feet are still on the Greasewood as it started to flutter its wings.

Horned Lark - Squat and lift offHorned Lark – Squat and lift off

Horned Larks often use the squat and lift off method, almost sounds like a weigh-lifting move only the weight lifter wouldn’t be flying away at breakneck speed.

Swainson's Hawk - Squat and lift offSwainson’s Hawk – Squat and lift off

This Swainson’s Hawk also employed the squat and lift off method but it looked a bit more powerful than the Horned Lark did and the hawk didn’t fly off nearly as fast as the lark did. Look at that concentration!

Rough-legged Hawk - Leap and lift offRough-legged Hawk – Leap and lift off

Now this Rough-legged Hawk took a leap as lift off using its very long powerful wings. I’d give this bird a score of ten for technique!

Red-shouldered Hawk - Push and lift offRed-shouldered Hawk – Push and lift off

This Red-shouldered Hawk didn’t squat much as it pushed off from the old snag it was perched on in a smooth fluid movement that propelled the bird forward.

Flight shots are wonderful but so are lift off shots.


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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. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments on this post.

  2. Beautiful pics, Mia! I especially love the coloring on the Western Meadowlark and the way you can see each individual feather. Really lovely.

  3. These are fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. They are all fabulous photos, Mia!

  5. These are all simply stunning. I love watching birds take off, including some like the albatross and swans which look like it is an incredible effort – I almost want to applaud when they succeed. Thank you so much for this perspective.

  6. Beautiful images – love the body posture. My fav is still the Red Shouldered – great, intense, git ‘er done kinda look.

  7. Delightful! That rough legged hawk shot captured SUCH an elegant moment. And the Swainson’s focus is inspirational–predator gazes frequently are.

  8. One, two, three…go! Perfect captures, and I loved every one, Mia! Thank you.

  9. A joy to see these.. made me smile. That Willet shot is awesome ;)

  10. This was enjoyable, Mia. Excellent timing!

  11. Fantastic, Mia. Especially the Western Meadowlark with the sharp body and the blur of the wings.

  12. Wow! Those are fantastic!!

  13. The lift-off is so majestic and invigorating!

  14. Your photography always delights me. Thank you.

  15. wow, Mia! These are all awesome birds and photos. Loved the lift off shots.

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