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. 🙂

22 thoughts on “Falcons of West Texas

  1. Hi Bob,
    Thanks for posting the photos. For the last few posts I have been looking up your birds in my bird book to see how the photo of the bird compares to the drawing of the bird in the book. It has been helpful and fun.
    I do appreciate you posting lots of photos!

    Mike Z

    • I hope you are having good luck. It seems the more bird guides I have, sometime it gets more confusing. I find that my favorite is the new “Stokes field guide to the Birds of North America”. Much more photographs. And like you say, it is a lot of fun. If I have a problem, I consult some experts to make sure I have the right IDs for my blog.

    • Thanks, Katie. I like taking requests. For example, I know how you like the Turkey Vultures. They are mostly gone from here for now, but when I get some nicer pictures of them, I will do a post about them. 🙂

  2. Beautiful, Bob! The kestrel is the only one of the three that I am familiar with, but we have quite a few in our area in the summertime. I could spend all day watching them. 🙂

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