Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

Kestrel Action

This silhouette: large-headed, full-bodied, longish tail. This is the local American Kestrel female. She’s larger and rounder than the male. The pair are mating now. They’ll do this multiple times a day. They can do it hundreds of time a breeding season.More falcon silhouette: long tail, arch of wings, nearly boomerang-like. She was moving from perch to perch in the northwest corner of Sunset Park. That is the famed car service antenna on 40th St. behind her, a Kestrel (and Merlin, Red-tail, crow, N. Mockingbird, Starling) perch behind her. Keeping a sharp lookout.

Kestrel Renewal

Well, here they are, kitty-corner from last year’s cornice nest. Have seen no mating as yet, but that sure doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any. Picture above from March 5th.

On Thursday, March 14th, at about 5:30pm, the same set up: both on the chimney pot after she flew there from a nearby roof pipe. Much vocalization from both.

Yesterday, Friday, around 9:15am. Heard first, as if often the case (can’t look out the windows every minute…). The male was stirring up a trio of Blue Jays. He held his own, didn’t budge. The female showed up. She perched on one pipe of a neighboring building, flew to a another pipe on the other side of the same building, and hey! She had prey. Which she clearly cached up there on the roof. Because she dipped down out of sight behind the parapet and reappeared to perch on the pipe on the other side of the building again. (These three photos of her are in sequence). We call this the Solar Building because its roof is filled with solar panels. Last year, it was a definite food-caching site. Presumably the falcons are stashing prey under the panels, where it can’t be seen from overhead.About 2:30pm yesterday, the female was seen eating on the solar bldg. She plucked and snarfed down what looked like a sparrow, the same thing she had up there earlier in the day. At one point, she dropped down to pick up a scrape she dropped. Not wasting anything but the feathers. She’s got to put on lots of weight for egg-making.

A big change from last year’s #BrooklynKestrels story is that the upright dead limb of the London plane tree across the street is no more. It was a regular perch for the falcons. It came down in a snowstorm this past November. Also this year, there’s no sidewalk shed around around our building: this hosted several House Sparrow nests last year, which probably meant the population of this Kestrel prey species was enriched.

One of the Staten Island Ferry’s big orange boats in the background. That’s Upper NY Bay, with the southern end of Ellis Island just visible to the right of the ferry.

Raptor Wednesday

This linden tree sported a male American Kestrel in 2017 and 2018, too. Now here’s… another? He’s facing the low winter sun. That makes for good photographs, but also gives his potential prey a good view of him.You’d think he’d want to come out of the sun, but that might throw his shadow ahead of him.So the above pictures were taken a few weeks ago. Raptor Wednesday is usually running behind this time of year. But I always check this spot when I’m near by, and most times I see nothing. But just yesterday, for the first time since the above:Here he was again.(I mean, I think it’s the same bird.)

New Perch

Raptor Wednesday

It seems like there are American Kestrels everywhere. But how many? Without banding or electronic tracking, I can’t say for sure. But:

There were three individual males, a new record, seen together from the windows here recently. There was much tail-pumping amongst the trio as they perched near each other on building and tree.

The male pictured above may have been the same one that dive-bombed a perched Cooper’s Hawk the same morning this picture was taken. The Cooper’s was unmoved. (Picture from before the breaking news.)

Over in Green-Wood, fifteen blocks away, more small falcon activity. Two separate males have been spied within a short distance from each other on several occasions. A male and female have now been seen together atop the main entrance to Green-Wood twice, four days apart. The female has perched on top of the lighting rod each time. During the second sighting, a Merlin was perched nearby on a tall pine.This male kestrel was spotted plucking and eating some songbird prey.

American Kestrel News

On Thursday, the first snowfall of the winter caught the city off-guard. Unprotected by congestion pricing, Manhattan, flooded with prowling car service vehicles, came to a traffic standstill. In the boroughs, lots of limbs were sheared off trees from the wet heavy snow and wind. The pictures above are from Wednesday. The male American Kestrel was keeping an eye on the sky. If you’ve followed our #BrooklynKestrels adventures, you will recognize this knob of a perch. It’s an upright arm of a London Plane tree right across the street from the #ViewFromTheMoraine, a.k.a our apartment.

This branch came down in Thursday’s storm. I noticed that it was missing Saturday. The branch, which was dead, is now hanging upside down further down in the canopy. I thought, oh, no, it’s the end of an era! You couldn’t have asked for a better view, well, ok, except for the fire-escape or a lamp post. As I was tweeting the news out to a waiting world of kestrel fans, I heard a kestrel calling. Yes, there he was in the tree across the street, just using another part of it to perch on. Those smokestacks in the distance, by the way, are where two Peregrines have been seen, either one at a time or in a pair, for several week now.

Kestrels, As In Plural

Well, well, well! Thursday morning, male and female American Kestrels perched on the building down the block.The male.The female.The male flew back and forth from the rail atop the bulkhead to this ailanthus several times. Both falcons disappeared for a while, then their calls returned us to the windows. They were circling each other overhead. They landed on a nearby antenna, nearly side-by-side, then flew off again. Reunion? Courting?This time the male landed on the pipe the female had been on earlier, but only for a second. They were not noticed again that day, but on Friday, he showed up in in the afternoon.


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