Cat attack

Stefano Unterthiner's Image

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.

Behind the lens

Stefano Unterthiner

Stefano Unterthiner


Stefano became serious about photography at 17 and went on to obtain a PhD in zoology from the University of Aberdeen (Scotland). He is the author of nine photography books, a multi-award winner in Wildlife Photographer of the Year and a regular contributing photographer for National Geographic magazine. Stefano has run many long-term multimedia projects, the latest being A Family in the Arctic.

Image details

  • Nikon D500
  • 200–400mm f4 lens
  • 1/2000 sec at f4  •   ISO 1000
  • Matera, Italy
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