Colorful Kestrel

Years ago American kestrels (Falco sparverius) would nest in one of our hay sheds each summer (near Lookout CA, Modoc County). Then for some reason they stopped. Although we always have kestrels around, there were no more breeding pairs. This spring Leonard and I noticed that a pair of kestrels is interested in our hay shed. Could we be so lucky as to again have nesting kestrels?

American kestrels, also called sparrow hawks, are the smallest and most common North American falcons. They are also the most colorful of the falcons. Males have a grey crown, sometimes with a rufous blush. The nape is rufous with a black spot on either side. Two pairs of moustaches surround white cheeks. Their back is bright rufous with black barrings while the wings are blue-grey with black primaries. Underparts are buffy-white with reddish streaks. Females are not as bright with less grey. I think they are beautiful birds, especially the males.

American kestrels cache their excess food in cavities and amid clumps of vegetation to provide during leaner times and to protect from thieves.

Previous posts about American kestrels include “American Kestrel” on 07-18-11.

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