I photographed this American Kestrel With Wings Spread on December 31, 2022. I had arrived at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma just before sunrise. When I had enough light to photograph I began driving the auto tour road. I spotted this male American Kestrel on the right side of the road and as I drove past it; I saw it did not fly away. I turned my pickup around at the next intersection and drove back to the bird. I now had this bird on my side of the vehicle and I began photographing it. I could get this shot because it began grooming.

American Kestrel With Wings Spread

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) With Wings Spread

One of the most recognizable features of the American Kestrel is its outstretched wings. These birds can hover in mid-air by flapping their wings rapidly, a behavior known as kiting. This allows them to spot potential prey from a distance and make a swift descent to capture it. Their wingspan can reach up to 20 inches, which is impressive for a bird that weighs only 4 ounces.

Gear Used:

  • Camera: Canon EOS R7
  • Lens: RF 800mm F11 IS STM


  • Location: Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge (Oklahoma)
  • Date and Time Taken: December 31, 2022 (8:48 A. M.)
  • Exposure Mode: Manual
  • Aperture: f11
  • Shutter speed: 1/250
  • ISO: 1600 (Auto)
  • White Balance: Auto
  • Metering Mode: Evaluative
  • Back-button Focus
  • Animal Eye Single Point Auto Focus
  • Exposure Compensation: +1/3 EV
  • Focal Length: 800 mm