A Coyote and Falcon Leftovers

/, Great Salt Lake, Utah/A Coyote and Falcon Leftovers

I had a marvelous photographic experience with Coyote along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake last week and wanted to share some of the images that I created.
Coyote with Falcon leftovers Coyote with Falcon leftovers ~ Shoreline of the Great Salt Lake ~ Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC 230mm, natural light, not baited

The temperatures have fluctuated often the past few weeks in the Salt Lake Valley, for a while it was very cold and the Great Salt Lake became covered with ice, then it warmed up and the wind blew huge sheets of the ice onto the shoreline where it piled up in some areas at least four feet high and after that we had a freeze that left everything frosty the morning I took these images.
Coyote eating Coyote eating –  Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 315mm, natural light, not baited

I watched as the Coyote walked the shoreline of the lake until it stopped and picked up something with feathers and started to eat it. The Coyote hadn’t caught the duck, its dismembered carcass was laying  in the frosty vegetation. I had seen Prairie and Peregrine Falcons feeding on ducks in the same location and the only thing they ate was the body of the ducks so I am presuming that the Coyote was feasting on the Falcons leftovers which consisted of wings and possibly legs.

Coyote with duck feathers  Coyote with piled up ice from the Great Salt Lake in the background – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 315mm, natural light, not baited

The Coyote didn’t seemed at all concerned with being observed while it ate but it did keep its eyes facing towards me most of the time. It also consumed almost all of the feathers, I only saw the longest feathers fall to the ground.
Coyote after finishing eating one of the falcon leftovers Coyote after finishing eating one of the falcon leftovers – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC 315mm, natural light, not baited

I really like how this one small feather stuck to the side of the Coyote’s mouth even while it was licking its lips.

Ack! Ack! – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/500, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 315mm, natural light, not baited

I must admit I felt a little squeamish while watching the Coyote eat, not because of the blood, bones or that the food was a duck but because I kept imagining how those feathers must feel in my throat.
Coyote hunting the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake Coyote hunting the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/400, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 280mm, natural light, not baited

As I recall the Coyote found and ate 3 of the left over duck bodies but it also pounced and leapt into the grasses, after voles I believe though I didn’t see it catch one.
Stalking Coyote Stalking Coyote –  Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/640, ISO 800, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 220mm, natural light, not baited

Coyotes are efficient hunters and they also appear to be very beneficial in cleaning up leftovers. Plus I believe they are extremely interesting critters too.

Mia

29 Comments

  1. Julie Brown January 7, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    Hi Mia. The coyote behavior is wonderful. I love the eye contact and detail in the coloring of its coat. The ice makes good background for the coyote, and how it got that way is really interesting.

    • Mia McPherson January 8, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Julie, thanks! The behavior was very interesting and the coloring of the Coyote’s coat did stand out very well from the ice in the background. Next I would love to get a Coyote image where there is nothing in the frame but the Coyote and snow!

  2. Jeff Clay January 7, 2012 at 10:01 am

    Hi Mia…Beautiful work. Love the sharpness, clarity and dof of these images.

    • Mia McPherson January 8, 2012 at 7:52 am

      Thank you very much Jeff, I appreciate you taking the time to look at my images and my blog.

  3. Mike Masin January 7, 2012 at 7:57 am

    Wonderful captures Mia! He wasn’t having any luck hunting if he was eating carrion. They’re beautiful critters; thanks for insider view 🙂

    • Mia McPherson January 8, 2012 at 7:50 am

      Mike, I took these photos and when I left the Coyote another photog friend picked up photographing it, then another. I bet that Coyote found at least 10 falcon leftover piles that morning.

  4. Bob Zeller January 5, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Oh, my gosh, Mia. These Coyote photos just simply take my breath away. I truly am speechless. I can’t think of enough superlatives to describe what how beautiful they are. 🙂

    • Mia McPherson January 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm

      Bob, thanks so much for your much appreciated comment, I love it when things come together like the Coyote and the ice.

  5. Jim Hackley January 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Excellent series Mia. The image IQ is great and the ice makes a wonderful background.

    • Mia McPherson January 5, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      Thank you Jim, the ice is the “icing” in these images in my opinion and the Coyote is the star.

  6. Beverly Everson January 4, 2012 at 9:13 am

    Magnificent series! Wow!

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 4:32 pm

      Thank you so much Beverly, it was great fun to photograph the Coyote!

  7. Out Walking the Dog January 4, 2012 at 7:20 am

    What a great story and photos. That must have been an extraordinary sight to see. I agree with you about the feathers – my throat tickles quite unpleasantly just thinking about it.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 7:31 am

      Thank you Melissa, and thanks for visting my blog. I’m glad I am not the only one whose thriat got all tickled when viewing these photos.

  8. Steve Creek January 4, 2012 at 7:09 am

    Awesome capture Mia! I agree about the Coyote being extremely interesting critters.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Thanks for your comment Steve, much appreciated. Coyotes are fascinating and get such a bum reputation when they are great for the environment.

  9. Tammy Karr January 4, 2012 at 6:08 am

    Stunning photos, as always! I really like the contrast of the coyote’s colors with the white background.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 7:29 am

      Tammy, thanks for your comment. I liked the contrast of the coyote’s colors and the ice in the background too. I hope we get more of that kind of ice this year!

  10. Dan Huber January 4, 2012 at 6:06 am

    Fantastic images, what a wonderful experience so close.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 7:28 am

      Thank you Dan, it was great fun to photograph this Coyote

  11. Kathleen Finnerty January 4, 2012 at 5:09 am

    Gorgeous images Mia! Beautiful soft illumination. Were you using fill flash – I love the small amount of catch light in the eye.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 5:26 am

      Hi Kathy,

      I was using natural light with all of the images, the winter sun was low on the horizon and that helped a lot but I did have to increase my ISO to keep my shutter speed up. It was such a handsome Coyote!

  12. Stu January 3, 2012 at 10:11 pm

    Here is something funny 😉 . Both I and Jill from BTN unknown to each other, were perusing the awards photos in the new Audubon Magazine.. and both of us were checking to see if your name appeared on any of the winning photos. I don’t know if you ever submit to such things.. but you should.. as far as I could see, your photos were as wonderful if not better than the winners chosen.. 😉
    What you seem to be able to create is a story in each shot! Wonderful Mia!

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 5:32 am

      Stu, thanks for making me smile with how you and Jill were looking to see if I had any winning images in the Audubon Magazine. I don’t submit images to contests for a variety of reasons but I am humbled that you think mine could be winners.

      There is almost always a story behind my images and each one bring those memories flooding back to me!

  13. Earl January 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Wow! I love the ice also.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 5:30 am

      Thank you so much Earl, the ice was an added bonus behind the Coyote.

  14. Jeremy Medina January 3, 2012 at 8:37 pm

    Wow Mia, these came out fantastic! I love how the ice sheets look in the background.

    • Mia McPherson January 4, 2012 at 5:29 am

      Thank you Jeremy, I loved the sheets of ice in the background too!

Comments are closed.