Plight of the Hungry Branchling

Equipment Info
Canon Canon EOS-1D X
720896/65536 sec. / ISO 320
Nearest Area

Photographed with a Canon 1DX using a rental 600mm IS II lens and 1.4x TC (840mm) on a Gitzo tripod with a Wimberley head. Settings were f/5.6, 1/2000 sec and ISO-320.


On her very first day out of the nest this female Peregrine, Falcona, was extremely nervous about flight. She had managed to either fly or climb up to a ledge two levels above the nest and a level above where she sits in this image. From that higher perch she watched as the adult female, her mother, flew into the eyrie below with food. Falcona very tentatively performed a wing-assisted jump down to the ledge where she now rests. The next level down to get back to nest was a bit of a larger gap and she wasn't quite ready to make that leap. Instead, she sat on this perch and called, begging for food. She sat watching as her fledgling brother devoured the catch. Peregrines can't be weak. They must learn and become stronger and more self-sufficient. In my next visit, Falcona appeared to be well-fed, flying and much more comfortable with her beautiful new wings.

I had the rare privilege of watching the events on this day at a naturally occurring cliff eyrie in PA that had decades before been occupied by the now extinct Eastern Anatum species. This unparalleled success story of species reintroduction has now also resulted in Peregrines finding those nests on their own, as I discovered this past spring. I sat fully draped in camouflage and hiding on a higher ledge about 60 yards away to prevent disruption. June 16, 2016

Date Added
December 3, 2016
Date Taken
November 17, 2016