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Peregrine falcon (with coot)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The peregrine in these images spent most of 2013 at a wildlife area near Riverside, California.   For much of that time she was molting from juvenile to adult plumage (these photos, from early November, show only a few brown juvenile feathers).   For some reason, this falcon (a female, judging from large size and heavy barring underneath) was quite tolerant of people.   Many of the photos on this page shows her eating a coot; she was also fond of snowy egrets, teal, and white-faced ibis, and rock doves.
       On the day these pictures were made, I encountered the falcon sitting in an open field in the company of several ravens.   She let me walk pretty much as close as I wanted without alarm (I was able to lower the tripod and sit down for some of these shots).   After several minutes she flew a few hundred meters to another open field.   Again, she let me get quite close, periodically staring upwards at passing birds and once waddling to a slightly higher dirt clod.   Eventually she launched after a passing coot, overhauled it with no apparent effort, grabbed it, glided to the ground, and began eating.   Once more she permitted me to get as close as I wanted.   She ate nearly all of the muscle tissue, discarded the head, intestines, and other viscera, and left only the feet, head, wings, and skeleton.   These pictures are in sequence, starting from top left.
       Other photos of these spectacular raptors are here, here and here; photos of perched adults are here and perched juveniles are on this page. nbsp; More photos here.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X extender; fill-in flash (2013)