AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
The American Kestrel is one of the smallest of all the raptors (being roughly the same size and shape as the morning dove) and also one of the most colourful. Males have slate-blue wings, females have reddish-brown ones and both sexes have rusty brown bodies and vertical pairs of black slashes on their pales faces; sometimes referred to as a ‘mustache’ and ‘sideburns.’ Kestrels usually perch on wires or polls near open territory, facing the wind and flapping their tails to stay in place as they hunt for insects and small prey. They have gotten a reputation with sports fans, as this species is known to perch on light stands or foul poles and use the bright stadium lights during night games to track prey; sometimes making it into TV sports coverage. Despite being a fierce hunter, the diminutive size of the American Kestrel means that is sometimes ends up as prey for larger birds like the Northern Goshawks, Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, American Crows, and Sharp-shinned and Cooper’s Hawks, as well as rat snakes, corn snakes, and even fire ants.