American Kestrels


American Kestrel



American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Dad is looking for Prey!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Mom is Flying!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Mom is Getting Close to Landing!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Landing Gear (Legs and Feet) is Out!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Landed!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Dad has a Mouse!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Dad holds out the Mouse for Mom!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Dad gives the Mouse to Mom!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota


Photo of the Day- June 10, 2020



Mom has the Mouse!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Dad has a Cricket!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Mom has a Mouse!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



Mom Flying with a Mouse!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 10, 2020



The American Kestrel is one of the most beautiful falcons in North America. Its feather patterns of blues, reds, grays, browns, and blacks make this small bird of prey a real eye-catcher! Apart from their good looks, American Kestrels are also swift fliers with astounding aerobatic abilities.  Kestrels, like a few other birds of prey, are very good at hovering. With the help of a good headwind, kestrels can flap their wings vigorously and maneuver their tail to stay in one spot, like a helicopter in mid-air, while searching the ground for prey. Though it is a small bird, the kestrel needs strength, agility, and stamina to maintain this static flight.  As you may know, all birds of prey have amazing eyesight. Kestrels, like some other birds, can see ultraviolet light, which is invisible to the human eye. This ability helps them find and catch prey. This does not mean that kestrels see animals that we don’t, but they do see rodents' urine trails, which reflect ultraviolet light. To a kestrel, these urine trails are like neon arrows pointing to their favorite restaurant. Kestrels might even set up a territory in an area with lots of urine trails because this means there are lots of tasty meals running around.


American Kestrels are found throughout most of North America, Central America, and South America. In their northern range, they are found in Canada and Alaska during the summer breeding season. As winter sets in, they head for warmer climes. Much of their prey hibernates or leaves during the cold winter months, so they must travel to where the food is. American Kestrels usually spend the winter south of the Canadian border and travel as far south as Panama and the Caribbean. They can be found in a variety of habitats, including tropical lowlands, deserts, urban areas, and agricultural fields. If there are sufficient perches like power lines and trees, good nesting cavities, and abundant prey, chances are kestrels will be there too.


American Kestrels feed mainly on insects, mice, voles, lizards, and snakes, making this bird a very good friend to farmers! Like the Barn Owl and many other birds of prey, American Kestrels help keep agricultural fields free of animals that might damage crops.  When hunting, American Kestrels search for prey from a perch overlooking an open area or by hovering in the air. When a kestrel spots its prey, it plunges down, in what's called a stoop, to catch it. Kestrels usually capture their prey on the ground, though they can also take prey in the air. After catching their prey, kestrels will carry it up to a perch (such as a power line or fence post) from which they can comfortably eat. Being up high keeps them away from ground predators, though they still have to watch out for other birds that might attack them or steal their catch.


Like other falcons, kestrels don’t build their own nests. Instead, they lay their eggs in cavities in trees, cacti, and cliffs. They also nest in nesting boxes made by people or in crevices in buildings. It is important to note that even though kestrels nest in tree cavities, they are unable to make these cavities themselves. They rely on the work of other birds, such as woodpeckers, to provide them with good sites! In fact, an American Kestrel won’t nest unless it has a sufficient hole available in a tree, building, or nesting box. A lack of good nesting cavities limits this species' reproduction and population.

American Kestrels, like many birds of prey, are solitary, meaning they spend most of their time alone. The exception to this is during breeding season. The male and female spend a lot of time together during courtship and breeding and while raising young. During courtship, a male kestrel brings the female food.


Females usually lay four to six eggs that are white with brown spots. Both the male and female help incubate the eggs. When the adults incubate the eggs, they sit on them to keep them at the perfect temperature. This is important for the healthy development of the young chicks inside. After about 29 days, the young kestrels hatch.


While they are growing, kestrels chicks eat about two times more than the adults do – consuming two or three mice a day! About 28-31 days after hatching, the chicks are grown and ready to take their first flight. For any bird, the first flights are the most precarious. They leave the nest and, though their parents are still around to protect them, young inexperienced birds can get into a lot of trouble. They have to learn to recognize and evade predators and they can be injured or killed when they fly into windows, are hit by cars, or become tangled up in barbed wire fences. American Kestrels are able to reproduce as early as 1 year of age.


https://peregrinefund.org/explore-raptors-species/falcons/american-kestrel



Dad has a Mouse and is Calling for Mom!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is coming to get the Mouse!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is getting Close to the Mouse!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Dad has a Grasshopper!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Getting the Grasshopper!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom has the Grasshopper!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom has the Grasshopper in her Talons!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom the Grasshopper to the Nest!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



The Parents- Dad on the Left and Mom on the Right!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



The Parents- Dad on the Left and Mom on the Right!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Dad has Another Grasshopper!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Getting the Grasshopper!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom has the Grasshopper!


American Kestrels

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Dad is Flying off to Catch More Food!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Flying to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Looking into the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Guarding the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Mom is Going into the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Tight Fit!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 11, 2020



Dad with a Mouse!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Dad!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Mom looking out of the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Mom leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Mom Flying Away to Find more Food!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Mom leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 12, 2020



Mom entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom bringing Food to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom bringing Food to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom bringing Food to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom bringing Food to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Mom Guarding and Bringing Food to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 14, 2020



Flying to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Flying to the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Flying with a Mouse!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Flying to the Nest with an Insect!

Tail Feathers Spread to Slow Down Prior to Landing!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Landing!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Insect for her Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Entering the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Leaving the Nest!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Mouse for her Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Landing!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Insect for her Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota


Photo of the Day- June 20, 2020



Mouse for her Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Hovering!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 20, 2020



Majestic!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Flying!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Got an Itch!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



My Ear Itches!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Take Off!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Keeping Balance!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Ready for Take Off!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Take Off!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Hopping!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Food for Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020



Food for Babies!


American Kestrel

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota

June 28, 2020


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