American Kestrel lift off

Male American Kestrel lift offMale American Kestrel lift off – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 320, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 328mm, natural light, not baited

American Kestrels are a challenge to photograph when they are in flight or lifting off because they move so quickly and in low light it can be even harder. This male kestrel had been perched on a pole at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area when I noticed that it was about to lift off so I was ready when it did. Even though the light was low due to fog I was able to obtain enough shutter speed to capture the moment just before his feet left the pole.

I would have preferred a blue sky background with a few fluffy clouds but photographing in low light conditions does test my skills and abilities and I enjoy that.


This image was taken in 2010.

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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. Cindy Schnackel

    Great shot! I don’t often get farther than Facebook to view your photos but just wanted to come and say how much I enjoy them all. Burrowing owls are my fave but it’s a tough choice!

  2. Absolutely stunning shot! Speechless!

  3. I think he stands out more with the gray background.

    • I agree with Colleen — and I like how the it coordinates with the shades of gray in his feathers. Interesting capture too.

    • And another support for the grey. I think the blue could be a little distracting – and the kestrel deserves the stage. Stunning shot.

  4. Fantastic shot!

  5. Excellent capture Mia !

  6. I believe he is saying “Watch me!” Wonderful photo. Thanks for sharing it.

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