Early one morning, Stefano was awoken by an unusual alarm, the calls of a worried pair of kestrels. Peering outside, he spotted the cause of the racket. A cat had crept perilously close to the couple’s nest and in retaliation, the protective mother was repeatedly mobbing the predator.
Matera is home to Europe’s largest breeding colony of lesser kestrels, who build their nests in the town’s historic stonework. Fond of their winged tourists, the town’s residents create nest boxes to protect the kestrels from curious cats and have even been known to hand-rear clumsy chicks that have fallen from their nests.
Nikon D500; 200–400mm f4 lens; 1/2000 sec at f4; ISO 1000; Gitzo tripod.
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Stefano Unterthiner, Italy
Stefano works with his wife Stéphanie, with whom he founded the publishing house Ylaios and created The Little Wild Gallery, his personal photography gallery in the Forte di Bard (Italy). He was recently chosen by the Valle d'Aosta region to endorse their ecotourism project VIVA. Since 2009, he has regularly collaborated with National Geographic magazine.