Diminutive Terror: The American Kestrel


This little raptor strikes terror in the hearts of field mice and other small rodents.  It is among the most colorful of the falcons.  Like the shrike, they are excellent mousers, and they also go courageously after small birds, bats, insects, reptiles, and even fish on rare occasions.  They perch on tall trees or posts for long periods and watch for prey.  They then swoop and pounce.  In poor light they may sometimes be mistaken for a Merlin.  These first two images were taken yesterday, where as the bottom two have been published before.  Click on any of them to see an enlargement.

American Kestrel watching for prey

American Kestrel enjoying the chase

American Kestrel enjoying the catch

American Kestrel feeling good

Happy Birding!!

Location:     San Angelo State Park
Observation date:     2/27/11
Number of species:     22

Northern Shoveler     50
American White Pelican     120
Great Blue Heron     1
Black Vulture     4
Turkey Vulture     1
Killdeer     4
Greater Yellowlegs     10
Ring-billed Gull     100
White-winged Dove     6
Mourning Dove     1
Great Horned Owl     1
Golden-fronted Woodpecker     1
Ladder-backed Woodpecker     1
Loggerhead Shrike     1
Black-crested Titmouse     2
Bewick’s Wren     2
Northern Mockingbird     8
Canyon Towhee     1
White-crowned Sparrow     6
Pyrrhuloxia     2
Red-winged Blackbird     30
House Finch     10

This report was generated automatically by eBird v2(http://ebird.org)

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16 thoughts on “Diminutive Terror: The American Kestrel

    • Well, technically you are right. I could have called it a “hawk-like” raptor. Another local name for it is “Sparrow Hawk”. Just a matter of symantics, or something like that. :-). Anyway, thanks for writing, Scott. I accept all criticism in stride. 🙂

      Thanks for the compliment on the photograph, and please write again.

  1. Bob, I think this is the bird you saw at a distance the morning you, Anne and I were at the lake. Beautiful bird. They probably don’t know what hit them!

  2. I remember te two images of the Kestrel you posted before, those two new ones are very nice, both good in their own respect, I love the perched one for its composition and mood, and I like the second for its dynamism! Great job Bob.

  3. Great Backyard Bird Count checklist submission deadline March 1st if you have lists for Feb 18-21. No one has submitted a list that I can tell from San Angelo.

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