Tuesday, February 22, 2011

White Meat or Dark Meat?

Yesterday, my dad and I returned to the Gloucester area for more birding and photography. One of the keys to making great photographs is to return to great locations often. Its easy to show up at Yosemite Valley to make images of El Capitan and go home. However, the best photographs are usually made by the photographer that will return to the same location again and again. That photographer will have a better chance of seeing truly special moments. Here is a link to an article that I wrote about the importance of returning to favorite locations to make great images:

Our first stop was to the Firsherman's Memorial where I made a more typical shot of this famous statue. The second stop was to visit our friend the peregrine falcon at Gloucester Town Hall. When we arrived it was just starting to eat its afternoon meal of fresh pigeon. We quickly readied our cameras and documented the meal. This is one of the behaviors that I had hoped to see when we watched the falcon for about an hour on Saturday.

As the raptor ate, I snapped a number of photos. Some more gruesome than others. I was particularly impressed by the size of its talons. The peregrine made quick work of the pigeon, eating everything including the bony legs. This image shows the peregrine falcon stretching some tasty intestines. Yum! It soon returned to its sleepy, napping pose that it had displayed a few days before. Its all about timing!

Of particular interest to me are the patches of blood on the underside of the falcon's tail. My guess is that the falcon had gripped the pigeon to the underside of its body as it flew to its perch, causing the blood of the pigeon to stain the white feathers of the falcon. My dad thinks that the falcon may have been mating with its partner, which may have caused some bleeding. If anyone has any idea what caused the blood stain under the tail feathers, I would love to hear it!

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