Banking American Kestrel female

Banking American Kestrel femaleBanking American Kestrel female – Nikon D200, f7.1, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 200-400mm VR with 1.4x TC at 400mm, natural light, not baited or called in

The term “Banking” in my title doesn’t mean this female American Kestrel is heading to the closest ATM or to a local branch of Wells Fargo because this little beauty doesn’t care one cent about money! By “banking” I mean that the bird has turned in flight into a position that shows her fully extended wings from above. As I recall this kestrel was turning to head back to her perch after a failed attempt at capturing prey in the snow below her.

Photographing birds in flight is a challenge to many and capturing a banking turn can be even more difficult especially with a small fast moving falcon like this American Kestrel. Getting this pose with the wings extended, the tail fanned out and getting eye contact practically made me jump for joy on the Christmas Eve day that I photographed her at Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area in northern Utah. I should have thanked her for the Christmas present!



  1. Julie Brown April 8, 2014 at 4:30 am


  2. Mary McAvoy April 7, 2014 at 7:07 pm

    A solid 10!
    And the eye contact puts it in a category of its own!
    Great shot!

  3. Patty Chadwick April 7, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    WOW! WOW! WOW! This lady kestrel with her fanned tail feathers and crescent arc wing position has to be a guaranteed, major prize winner!!K. Fantastic!!!

  4. Samantha Biobabbler April 7, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Pretty. darn. amazing. shot. They REALLY are nimble fliers, one of only 2 spp. I know of that can hover in ZERO wind. And I’ll always appreciate them for making sex ID SO easy. =)

  5. Elephant's Child April 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

    And I thank you for the belated Christmas gift too. An incredible image.

  6. Utahbooklover April 7, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Outstanding image Mia — she’s such a beautiful falcon! This is a bird I often see hovering over the vacant field behind our house, watching for voles, etc.

  7. Ilze Long April 7, 2014 at 8:38 am

    yes, you should have thanked her. Love the picture.

  8. John Randall April 7, 2014 at 7:25 am

    Magnificent Image Mia !

  9. Montanagirl April 7, 2014 at 7:02 am

    Kestrels are so pretty. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a nicer photo of one of these in flight.

  10. Jolanta April 7, 2014 at 6:23 am

    She is beautiful! Thanks for photo!

  11. Bob Bushell April 7, 2014 at 5:32 am

    Love the Kestrel, beautiful photo.

  12. Liz Cormack April 7, 2014 at 5:25 am

    Wow! She’s banking to have a better look at you!

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