Male American Kestrel Turning In Flight – Small In The Frame

/, Birds, Davis County, Farmington Bay Waterfowl Management Area, Utah/Male American Kestrel Turning In Flight – Small In The Frame

Male American Kestrel turning in flight, Farmington Bay WMA, Davis County, UtahMale American Kestrel turning in flight – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

As a bird photographer I like to take images where where my subject fills the frame so that all the fine plumage details can be seen by anyone viewing the photos and where a sense of intimacy with the subject is conveyed as it can be when I able to take close ups or portraits of my subjects. I also like to take photos where the birds are small in the frame because they can show more of the background or the habitat my subjects are found in.

While I would have enjoyed having this male American Kestrel closer to me as it turned in flight than it was yesterday morning I found that I liked this frame with the tiny falcon turning in flight being small in the frame too. Why? Because even though the habitat the kestrel is flying over is out of focus it lends a “sense of place” to the image that wouldn’t have been conveyed if the kestrel filled the frame more than it does.

Also, the size of the falcon in this frame is what we are more likely to see with our naked eyes as humans without the aid of scopes, binocs or long lenses.

Did you know that kestrels often cache prey to keep for feeding on later? I watched as this male cached a vole at the base of a clump of vegetation before he took flight which is when I took this photo.

Life is good.


American Kestrel facts and information:

Falco sparverius

  • The American Kestrel is the smallest and most colorful falcon species of North America.
  • The male and female are alike in shape but different in coloration, the male has slate-blue wings and head that contrast nicely with his rusty back and tail and the female has those same rusty tones on her back, wings and tail. The female also has a barred pattern on her back, wings and tail. Both the male and female have boldly patterned heads.
  • They hunt mainly for insects and small mammals but will take a small bird when they have the chance. American Kestrels usually capture their prey on the ground but they will also catch prey on the wing.
  • Their habitat includes, open meadows, grasslands, deserts, road sides, towns, cities and farmlands.
  • American Kestrels are cavity nesters. They lay between 3 to 7 eggs which take 26 to 32 days to hatch. The female is the primary incubator but males will also incubate on occasion.
  • A common nickname for American Kestrels is “Sparrow Hawk”.
  • A group of falcons can be called a “bazaar”, “eyrie”, “stooping up” and a “tower” of falcons.
  • American Kestrels live between 10 to 15 years.


  1. Elephants Child October 30, 2018 at 2:26 pm

    I am pretty certain that most birds prefer being small in the frame.
    Beautiful photo of a beautiful bird being free to be itself. Thank you.

  2. Sallie Reynolds October 30, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    I can find 50 great Kestrel close-ups. But very very few of the bird in flight, and even fewer of those are anything like as good as this one!

  3. Patty Chadwick October 30, 2018 at 10:12 am


  4. Keith Nichols October 30, 2018 at 9:05 am

    Great shot of a beautiful bird!

  5. Marty K October 30, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Love being able to see that beautiful rust-colored flared tail and all the grey on the outstretched wings. I think your framing and composition emphasize the “big personality/small package” nature of this species perfectly!

  6. humming bird lover October 30, 2018 at 8:24 am

    Hi! I love these Photo’s! Remember I carried the 8X10 home with me! The one it is looking over its shoulder! Have a great day! Love ya mom!

  7. Tim Traver October 30, 2018 at 8:05 am

    Sharp image. You really got this one. It doesn’t look too small in the frame to me.

  8. Liz Cormack October 30, 2018 at 6:58 am

    My favourite (among many) bird.

  9. Laura October 30, 2018 at 5:55 am

    Beautiful shot!

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