Peregrine Falcon in the Snow – My Best Find of the Day

/, Birds, Davis County, Peregrine Falcons, Utah/Peregrine Falcon in the Snow – My Best Find of the Day

Peregrine Falcon on a winter morningPeregrine Falcon on a winter morning – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I was able to get out into the field yesterday morning for a couple of hours and it felt marvelous to see clear skies, the sun, the mountains and a few birds.

My best find of the day was a Peregrine Falcon in the snow perched on a colorful boulder with a snowy background. Although the light angle wasn’t the best to get light in both eyes of the falcon I am still happy with the way these images turned out.

Head on look from a Peregrine FalconHead on look from a Peregrine Falcon – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 250, +0.7 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I find falcons in general to be spectacular looking birds and this one was no exception. Because it was so cold, 8°F at the time, the falcon was stickier than it might normally have been, it seemed like it just wanted to warm up in the rays of the low-hanging winter sun. I hoped that it would groom its feathers or rouse while I observed and photographed it but that was not to be.

Peregrine Falcon in snowPeregrine Falcon in snow – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1250, ISO 250, +1.0 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Several cars and pickups had passed by without slowing down and the falcon didn’t even ruffle a feather as they went past but that changed when another vehicle coming up the road decelerated and slowly  drove up to the falcon until it was closer to the bird than from where I sat photographing it.

One vehicle near the falcon didn’t seem to bother it but when that second car got nearer and nearer to the bird it appeared to push the falcon out its comfort zone because it took off and flew northeast and didn’t land until it was way out on snow covered flat. Later on when I passed that location again the falcon was still perched on a mound of snow a long way from the road. Having someone chase off the bird I was photographing was frustrating but the driver of the other car probably didn’t know that his presence was going to bother the falcon. Things happen.

I was delighted to photograph this Peregrine Falcon in such a snowy setting.

Life is good.

Mia

14 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover January 30, 2017 at 9:40 pm

    Interesting post and images of one of my favorites. I went to the peregrinefund.org to learn more about their eating habits:

    Peregrine Falcons are mainly bird hunters; starlings, pigeons, blackbirds, jays, shorebirds, and waterfowl are all fair game for a hungry Peregrine Falcon. They also occasionally hunt mammals, reptiles, and insects and there have even been reports of some Peregrine Falcons specializing in eating bats.

    A hunting Peregrine Falcon uses many strategies for catching a good meal but they typically catch their prey in the air with fast pursuits, rapid dives, and other impressive aerial maneuvers for which these falcons are known and admired. Perhaps its most famous hunting technique is the dive. To pull this off, a Peregrine Falcon flies high into the sky, using its keen eyesight to locate birds flying below. When it finds its target, the falcon folds its wings and falls into a nose dive, or stoop, gaining speeds up to 200 mph. The falcon closes its feet, and uses them to knock the prey out of the sky.

  2. Elephant's Child January 28, 2017 at 1:58 pm

    WHAT a magnificent bird. Thank you.

  3. April Olson January 28, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Beautiful bird. Looks chilly. I must admit yesterday I pulled out a lawn chair put it in the sun and sat soaking up the sun.

  4. Stu January 28, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I do like reading your longer posts abiut the who, what , where and when Mia.. Adds a lot to the ohotos.

  5. Pepe Forte January 28, 2017 at 11:18 am

    Incredible pics of an incredible bird. God…I love your work. Thanks Mia.

  6. Liz Cormack January 28, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Sometimes your photos take my breath away. These did it for me today. Wow.

  7. Patty Chadwick January 28, 2017 at 8:06 am

    I love the harmonious, subtle colors in these images…especially like the second. That other driver scaring the bird off reminded me of a white-tailed deer I was obviously photographing in the Adirondacks. Some jerk saw what I was doing, stopped, came between me and the deer and started tossing french fries to it!!! Shortly after that, we were no longer allowed to stop anywhere along the road.

  8. Beth Polvino January 28, 2017 at 8:02 am

    Oh, oh, oh. I “found” your blog yesterday somehow. I have serious envy of the gorgeous images you take and the places you have visited. I have put some of your favorites on my list. I have been to Fort DeSoto and will be returning next month for a week. I wondered what type of vehicle you drive since I’ll be looking soon and would love to go places like the Red Rocks in MT

    • Mia McPherson January 28, 2017 at 8:06 am

      Hi Beth, glad you found my blog and thank you for your kind words on my work. I drive a Jeep Patriot with 4×4. I suggest AT tires for many of the places I visit because they are tougher than street tires and flats from rocks penetrating street tires are a real issue.

  9. Bob mcpherson January 28, 2017 at 7:34 am

    Cool images , Mia. He was posing for you.

  10. S. Hansen January 28, 2017 at 6:58 am

    Ditto. And the sharp image of the bird on the beautiful rock peak jutting out of the mist-obscured background is especially striking.

  11. Steven Kessel January 28, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Oh, what a great find and what beautiful images! Down here in southeastern Arizona we usually see Peregrines perching high, often on utility poles. I can’t recall ever seeing one of these magnificent raptors perching low and within camera range.

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