Young Peregrine Falcon and the Great Salt Lake

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An young Peregrine Falcon with an open billAn young Peregrine Falcon with an open bill – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Five days ago I photographed a young Peregrine Falcon perched on Tumbleweed and yesterday I was able to take images of what I believe is the same falcon. Throughout the years that I have been photographing birds I haven’t had many chances with these falcons so I am always excited when I can see them in my viewfinder.

A Peregrine Falcon perched on Tintic Quartzite boulderA Peregrine Falcon perched on Tintic Quartzite boulder – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The young Peregrine Falcon was perched on tintic quartzite boulders that are along the causeway to Antelope Island State Park. I liked the contrasts between the light colored boulders and the dark plumage of the Peregrine in the morning light.

A hatch year Peregrine Falcon on the rocksA hatch year Peregrine Falcon on the rocks – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/3200, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I was so happy to see this young falcon because it has almost made it through the first year of its life which it the hardest on raptors. Peregrine Falcons have made a great comeback from near extinction caused by DDT. Hopefully this bird will survive and produce young of its own.

An immature Peregrine Falcon rousingAn immature Peregrine Falcon rousing – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The Great Salt Lake this time of the year is full of ducks and that means that there is ample food in the area for this young Peregrine Falcon. I hope that the falcon sticks around for awhile because I would love to get images of it hunting.

A juvenile Peregrine Falcon watching Avocets in flightA juvenile Peregrine Falcon watching Avocets in flight – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/2500, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

There are still quite a few American Avocets on the lake and as several flocks flew over the young bird turned its head towards the sky and watched them as they passed us by.

Juvenile Peregrine Falcon on the playa of the Great Salt LakeJuvenile Peregrine Falcon on the playa of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1600, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

While watching and photographing this falcon I couldn’t help but noticed how large its feet are compared to the rest of its body and I think this image shows that well.

This was one of three falcons I saw yesterday, I also saw and adult Peregrine and a juvenile Prairie Falcon and I hope to be able to get high quality images of them as well. I only saw the adult Peregrine once and I didn’t get images of it and while I did get images of the Prairie that lighting was horrible.

Life is good.

Mia

8 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover November 22, 2015 at 11:41 pm

    Nice images all. Sometimes called the big-foot falcon, the talons are much larger than the Lanner Falcon, an African subspecies (19 in all) often flown in the Birdshow at Hogle zoo May-Sept. Online found this:

    Peregrine falcons are among the world’s most common birds of prey and live on all continents except Antarctica. They prefer wide-open spaces, and thrive near coasts where shorebirds are common, but they can be found everywhere from tundra to deserts. Peregrines are even known to live on bridges and skyscrapers in major cities, however they are uncommon in most areas. Peregrinus in Latin means to wander.

  2. Rick Remington November 15, 2015 at 4:30 am

    Mia,

    Wow! These are breathtaking images of a gorgeous young falcon. I truly admire your passion and persistence with birds. You have a gift and I am thrilled that you share your photos.

    Rick Remington

  3. Mia McPherson November 12, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Thank you Nancy, Bob, Glen and Patty. I was excited to find this young falcon several times yesterday morning. These images are from just two of those locations.

  4. Patty Chadwick November 12, 2015 at 6:58 am

    I noticed the same thing about the feet…how big and strong they looked in relation to the size of the bird…again, I’ve never seen these birds perched on anything so low…accept on the arm of a falconer friend…only high perches or flying so fast I can barely identify them…makes these images a special treat…

  5. Glen Fox November 12, 2015 at 6:38 am

    Wonderful images Mia of a spectacular bird. I suspect it is a female. Yes they do have big, strong feet. They are VERY strong birds. You live in a wonderful location. I’m very envious of anyone who has such a fantastic variety of raptors to photograph. Thanks for sharing your wonderful images of these birds. I know you love them all. Glen

  6. Bob Mcpherson November 12, 2015 at 6:19 am

    Thanks you Mia. Please take a bow . Those are magnificent images.

  7. Nancy Collins November 12, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Beautiful images Mia! I agree those feet look like “catcher’s mitts”!

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