Peregrine Falcon on a Tumbleweed Perch

/, Birds, Davis County, Peregrine Falcons, Utah/Peregrine Falcon on a Tumbleweed Perch

The Tumbleweed and a Peregrine FalconThe Tumbleweed and a Peregrine Falcon – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Yesterday morning the skies were clear, the temperature dropped to a brisk 26°F and I headed out to Antelope Island State Park to see if I could find some birds to photograph. I saw Mule Deer in rut but they were too far away to get decent images of. I saw lots of Bison with birds on their backs. I also saw tons of pickup trucks hauling trailers because there was an auction of the Bison that were rounded up last month. There weren’t many birds that were allowing me to get close enough to get decent images so I started my journey home and drove slowly along the causeway to see if I could find just one bird to photograph.

I stopped to scope out a large flock of avocets in the icy blue water and along the shoreline about 100 yards east I saw a Peregrine Falcon perched on a tumbleweed. I had to wait where I was because there were about 8 vehicles heading my way and I wanted them to pass before I drove any closer to the falcon, I didn’t want to spook it. Finally, when they had all passed I slowly moved forward until my Jeep was due south of the falcon and started taking images of the bird.

A Peregrine Falcon fluttering its wings on a tumbleweedA Peregrine Falcon fluttering its wings on a tumbleweed – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

For about a second I thought the Peregrine Falcon was going to fly when it lifted and fluttered it wings but it settled down again after giving me the opportunity to get a short series of images of this handsome falcon with its wings over its body.

I could also see that this peregrine is juvenile. I wondered where it was hatched, if it was a Utah Peregrine Falcon or one that hatched further north and was fueling up on the ducks on the Great Salt Lake before heading further south. I’ll never know but my mind does wander.

A peregrine Falcon giving me the eyeA Peregrine Falcon giving me the eye – Nikon D810, f9, 1/1000, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I was able to get a nice series of images of this immature Peregrine Falcon and the tumbleweed in decent light and in an interesting setting on the shore of the Great Salt Lake. I was happy.

I hoped that if I sat there long enough with my lens trained on the falcon that I would get some decent lift off and flight shots when it took flight. The falcon did take off when a very noisy diesel pickup hauling an empty horse trailer thundered by but the falcon took off facing away from me heading first north over the Great Salt Lake stirring up several flocks of avocets before it headed west again and at that point I lost sight of it.

I was delighted to have a minute or two with this immature Peregrine Falcon on a tumbleweed perch in northern Utah. It made my day.

Life is good.



  1. April Olson November 8, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    I often find myself wishing birds had “license plates” so you knew where they had come from.

  2. Mary McAvoy November 8, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Wonderful photos, wonderful story!
    PS I’ve only before seen tumbleweed in the old western movies of the ’60’s! So thanks for detailed photos!

  3. Utahbooklover November 8, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Good work Mia. A tumbleweed for a perch makes an interesting composition.

  4. Elephant's Child November 8, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    Lovely to see the peregrine – and I am intrigued by its perch.

  5. Patty Chadwick November 8, 2015 at 7:49 am

    A beautiful series and an interesting perch—King of the Castle. I always think of these birds as either perched in some high place or flying too fast to see much. This is a real treat! Glad you got out…

  6. Larry Jordan November 8, 2015 at 7:27 am

    It’s fun to work with a juvenile bird isn’t it Mia? You got some great shots of this young falcon. I love the wings up pose!

  7. Liz Cormack November 8, 2015 at 7:11 am


  8. Bob Mcpherson November 8, 2015 at 5:03 am

    Gorgeous images, Mia. The peregrine falcon is a very interesting subject.

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