Falcons of West Texas

This post was inspired by David Heilman, click here to view his blog.  In a previous birding post he commented that he was impressed with my birding list, and surprised that a Merlin was included.  He asked me if I had a photo.  So today, I decided to do a post about the three small falcons of this area that I am acquainted with.  I dug back through my archives to find these images.


This Merlin was photographed early one morning only a few blocks from my house.  I always have my Canon SLR, with my Canon 500mm lens, in the car with me.   We were coming home from breakfast, and my sharp-eyed wife, Ann, spotted it.  I wheeled into convenient empty lot nearby.  There was no time to set up a tripod, so I hand-held it and took the photo from the car window.  Canon EOS 40D, 500mm lens with1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure 1/1250 sec. @ f6.3, ISO 400.

Prairie Falcon

The Prairie Falcon was also photographed in the same area, only the bird was atop a utility pole.  I used the sames set-up again, and again I had to hand-hold the camera in my car window.  Canon EOS 7D with 500mm lens plus 1.4 teleconverter.  Exposure was 1/1000 sec. @ f11, plus 2/3 EV, ISO 400.

American Kestrel

The American Kestrel is by far, my favorite of the small falcon type birds.  It is so colorful and photogenic.  This time the bird was atop a small, dead tree.  He had a fresh meal in his mouth, and not wanting to take a chance of him flying off too quickly, I again opted to hand-hold the camera.  Canon EOS 7D, Canon 500mm lens with 1.4 tele-converter.  Exposure 1/1600 sec. @ f5.6 plus 1/3 EV.  ISO 125.

There are other falcons that can be seen occasionally.  One is the Peregrine Falcon.  I have observed one flying across O. C. Fisher lake a few times.  I never had a chance for a photo because of their great speed.  The Crested Caracara is another one that I haven’t been close enough to photograph.  But some day………  My camera is in my car. 🙂