American Kestrel

The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) has to be one of  my favorite small hawks.  They are beautiful, colorful, and agressive as hawks usually are.  Stokes Field Guide of North American Birds describes it as a small long-tailed falcon with long, narrow, pointed, and strongly tapered wings.  Some strong identifying marks are the two vertical stripes on the white face.  It is often seen hovering or perched on wires in open spaces, hunting insects, birds and small mammals.  They are plentiful around the west Texas area.  I captured this photograph at San Angelo State Park a year ago, after he led me on a merry chase through the trees and picnic areas.  I finally caught up with him as he stopped atop a tree and let the wind blow his plummage.

American Kestrel

I hope you enjoy the photograph and you can click on it to see an enlargement.  Below is our latest bird count from this morning.

Wednesday January 5, 2011   Total species   21

Northern Shoveler     12
American White Pelican     50
Great Blue Heron     1
Northern Harrier     1
Ring-billed Gull     100
White-winged Dove     6
Mourning Dove     2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Northern Mockingbird     6
Curve-billed Thrasher     1
Spotted Towhee     1
Canyon Towhee     1
Vesper Sparrow     1
White-crowned Sparrow     24
Northern Cardinal     6
Pyrrhuloxia     6
Red-winged Blackbird     20
Western Meadowlark     10
House Finch     18
House Sparrow     6

Happy Birding!!

13 thoughts on “American Kestrel

  1. Pingback: Interstate 20 Kestrel | Sage to Meadow

  2. In the early 80’s i was working in an area where there was many of those American Kestrel. We would see them everywhere all day long. One day one of them got scarred by a low flying helicopter coming for landing and flew through the antennas array and hit a fine wire stung between two high poles and came plummeting to the ground. I had a broken wing and a very bad mood. With the kids i was able to immobilized it and take it inside the house where we proceeded to do the best we could in bandaging the wing. We had this unwilling visitor at our place for over a month, 3 weeks with the wing held in place for it to heal and another 2 weeks flying in and out of the front door and chasing the dogs until it decided to go back to the wild. Great experience, bloody fingers, search for the food needed, and having it around for the last two months of the summer.
    The kids, now adults, still talk about it.

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