Prairie Falcon Faux Pas

This is a pose I seldom post on my blog or even like very much but somehow it works for me with this young Prairie Falcon.


1/1600, f/5.6, ISO 640, Canon 7D, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

This photo was taken several years ago on an overcast December morning on the Antelope Island causeway. I’ve never posted it because the bird is looking mostly away from me and typically I prefer better eye contact. But in this case I actually enjoy the falcon’s wistful over the shoulder gaze and I do have a catch light in the eye despite the poor light. I also like the background, the perch and the texture of the slightly fluffed feathers as the bird tried to keep warm in the cold.

I was able to get dozens of nice photos of this falcon that have much better eye contact. I only have two with it looking in this direction and I like to pretend I know why it looked away from me like this. Seconds before this shot was taken the bird was perched a couple of inches to our right – at the very edge of the drop-off with its hind toes hanging over that edge. Young and inexperienced bird that it was…



1/2000, f/5.6, ISO 640, Canon 7D, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM, not baited, set up or called in

it slipped and nearly fell off backwards. And I do mean it came very close to going over the edge. I like to think it was embarrassed that I’d witnessed its faux pas so it didn’t want to maintain eye contact with me any longer.

I know that’s a reach but I’m easily entertained…







24 comments to Prairie Falcon Faux Pas

  • That poor bird. It is bad enough having a ‘whoopsie’ moment without having it not only seen but captured. And yes, I am speaking from painful, bruised, klutzy experience.
    I never look that good though…

  • Marty K

    No. Seriously. I meant to do that. Superstar! 😉

    I feel this little guy’s pain — I’m forever tripping over my feet, a dog, a bump, the air…

    Striking feather patterns!

    • “I meant to do that”

      Ha, I remember trying to fake my intention a time or two when I was a kid, Marty. Don’t think I pulled it off…

    • Laura Culley

      LOL Marty! I feel your pain. I’m so thankful for the walls in this house (and their serendipitous locations). I’ve learned to carefully watch what my feet are doing since they sometimes mutiny and go awry on adventures of their own without my permission. The NERVE! Then, there are the dogs, which are a whole ‘nother challenge!
      IF this reincarnation idea is a thing, I’m going to be royally POed if I don’t return to this Earth with feathers and raptor-like wings along with the ability to fly so that I can overcome this pesky gravity thing. Note that I’ve specified raptor-like wings. Roaches and most other insects can fly, too and I do NOT want to go there!
      I’m often reminded just how (exponentially) cat-like raptors are combined with their reptilian ancestors. I’m reminded of a serious witch’s brew (double, bubble, toil and trouble). HOWEVER, while the cat-like denial behavior of clumsy actions is only reminiscent in raptors, the dismissal look alone says they’re far closer to predatory dinosaurs on the family tree. It’s all in the talons. 😉
      Ron, I’m going to remember these prairie images all day. That’s good. I need to deal with humans today…HEHEHE!

      • Marty K

        With my luck, I’m coming back as Gregor Samsa. 🙁

      • Patty Chadwick

        My GHO was very cat (kitten)like, too…I often noticed that…especially when he was hoping along after some “toy” I was pulling along the kitchen floor…

  • Patty Chadwick

    I like the harmony of colors between bird, rock and background in the first shot…bird looks wistful somehow…

  • Wow! The colours and feather detail in your first photo are beautiful. I think the pose goes really well with the colours and the mood/lighting of that day. The second shot is awesome too of course… and the action is very interesting… but I can’t help but feel a bit bad witnessing the little guy’s faux-pas. Oh well, I guess it happens to everyone once in a while! 🙂

    I finished drawing a magpie in flight from your “Magpie attacking a Swainson’s Hawk” series. I posted it on my blog ( Thanks so much for allowing me to use your photo as a reference.

  • Susan Stone

    I, too, am easily entertained, and very much enjoy seeing animal behavior, be it birds or lizards, or any other animal I become acquainted with. I couldn’t agree more that the poor bird here was embarrassed, especially since I understand about slipping on rocks from experience…

  • Laura Culley

    It’s good to be easily entertained, isn’t it? Makes life funner 😉
    But what a gloriously beautiful prairie–not sure if that’s a falcon or tiercel (male). I’m WAY better on redtails than longwings, but just WOW! What a beauty! I continually wonder how the heck they do that spectacularly intricate feather coloring. Having said that, I’m easily entertained, too! I could stare at those images all day and marvel at the breath-taking awesomeness every second. I’ve thought about flying a tiercel prairie for a long time. It just MIGHT happen one day soon if the arthritis continues to back off in my reality. Raptors (and birds in general) have such an outrageous grace of being (even in those few moments when that majestic thing isn’t working for them) that fills me with wonder!

  • Hahahahaha yes, very much the cold shoulder. I would have giggled right along with you.

  • Judy Gusick

    Beautiful! Must have been recovering from the OMG! It all fits even if “December” and winter doesn’t thrill me…………..:)