Female Kestrel on sign

This is the most cooperative Kestrel in the universe. It loves to perch on the “keep out” signs along the auto tour route at Ridgefield NWR and it seems oblivious to the paparazzi. I got lucky when she actually lifted her tail above the sign for a few seconds.

Specific Feedback Requested

I had trouble coming up with a balanced crop for this pose. I didn’t want to include much of the sign because it would have required a great deal of cleanup. Any suggestions would be welcomed.

Technical Details

Is this a composite: No
Sony a1, FE200-600 + 1.4 TC @ 407 mm, handheld from car window, f/9, 1/2000, iso 800, manual exposure. Processed in LR & PS CC. Cropped to 3539x3906. Taken at 10:13 AM on January 17th.

Dennis, I love how he’s fluffed up to keep warm. I drove by him/her last week and was amazed at how unperturbed he was by vehicles with humans…as you said, the most cooperative Kestrel. I think you did a great job of minimizing the sign.


Love the colors, detail and the inquisitive look, Dennis. I can see how cropping would be a challenge, but what you’ve done here works fine, at least for me.

I don’t know that you could have done much more with the crop, Dennis. The bird looks nice and that haughty look makes me grin.

Dennis, I am enjoying the way she is giving you the eye, and the ruffled feathers. I think the crop is fine as you have it. That was perfect timing with her tail lifted up a bit allowing so that the sign isn’t hiding part of it. Nice look at a skittish bird.

A wonderful catch with excellent detail and a very good look at the viewer! The sign doesn’t bother me, and I’m not sure any unsightly stuff on it would compete with the bird. It’s a natural perch, even if it’s unnatural… An unsightly sign can be an amusing aspect of an otherwise natural bird portrait.

Sign of the times. Nice pose and especially the facial expression.