Merlin Perched in a Tree ~ Friday Photos

/, Davis County, Florida, Merlins, Utah/Merlin Perched in a Tree ~ Friday Photos

Merlin perched Merlin perched in a tree – Nikon D300, f6.3, 1/800, ISO 800, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited

Merlins are winter visitors in the Salt Lake Valley so I have just a few more weeks to attempt photographing them. Merlins are used to be called “pigeon hawks”  because their shape and flight patterns are similar to pigeons. Merlins feed on small mammals, birds as large as doves and apparently they include bats in their diets.

Like other falcons Merlins are strong fliers, can turn very quickly and they can grab their prey in mid air.

I didn’t have the best of light when I photographed the Merlin in the photo above plus the fresh snow on the mountain slope behind the bird produced a high key effect but I liked the Merlin’s pose, the eye contact and the way the branches moved through the frame.



  1. ingrid January 28, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    Mia, every time I land on one of your posts in my feed, I see the most extraordinary visions. This is so beautiful, with the bird isolated against that background … it took my breath away.

    • Mia McPherson January 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm

      Thank you Ingrid, I really enjoyed how this Merlin image came out even with the less than optimal circumstances. Your comment is much appreciated and humbling.

  2. Dan Huber January 28, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Wonderful capture Mia. Amazing with that light and those settings what a wonderful photo you took, shows your skill.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 4:15 pm

      Thanks Dan, your comment is much appreciated!

  3. Jeremy Medina January 27, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    Fantastic shot! I’ve yet to photograph one. The ones I’ve encountered were very skittish.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:24 am

      Jeremy, thanks for your comment. I have found Merlins to be skittish too so I am always happy when one will stick around for a few frames.

  4. Scott January 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Gorgeous shot, Mia!

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:25 am

      Thanks very much Scott, they are gorgeous little falcons.

  5. Laurence B January 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm

    There’s something particularly striking and powerful about raptors in the snow.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:26 am

      I so agree with you Laurence, raptors in snow make for dramatic images!

  6. Julie G. January 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Lovely image, Mia! I really like the crispness of the beautiful Merlin against the soft background. Stunning capture!

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:27 am

      Thank you very much Julie, I thought the soft background was very appealing too.

  7. Bob Zeller January 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Great shot, Mia. I love the high key effect, and I love the way you juxtiposed the Merlin off to the right. With the branches it makes a delightful compsition.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:28 am

      Bob, thanks for your wonderful comment, much appreciated!

  8. sxn January 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Cute bird!

  9. Skip Harris January 27, 2012 at 8:24 am

    Lovely image of a good looking raptor. I sure have problems when the background or large parts of it are very bright. I have not been to successful so far, but I will keep trying. Your have handled these situations so well.

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2012 at 5:33 am

      Hi Skip,

      Merlins are handsome birds, I wish I had more images of them. High key backgrounds are challenging but doable and they can produce very dramatic results. Thanks for your comment.

  10. Steve Creek January 27, 2012 at 5:25 am

    Great capture Mia!

    • Mia McPherson January 27, 2012 at 7:19 am

      Thanks very much Steve!

Comments are closed.