Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

Raptor Wednesday

Four American Kestrels have been lately been spotted at the same time in the neighborhood. They’re hard to count, though, since they move from pillar to post and then out of sight with great frequency.
On July 2nd, I was in Green-Wood and ran into three females and one male. Again, this is a tentative count because they were constantly moving between perches in several trees. All these photographs in today’s post are from this encounter.
This location is just about a mile away from the #BrooklynKestrels nest. We’re these four birds “ours”?
Just how many American Kestrels are in Brooklyn? In NYC as a whole? How close do they nest? Lots of questions.
I haven’t been able to check on another nest I know this year. It’s over two miles away.

Raptor Wednesday

On Sunday morning, there were five American Kestrels on and off the solar building, which is about one-third of the way down the block from here. Two males, three females. In this pic, there’s a male on the left. There are two females on the chimney, and another female on the far right pipe.
On Monday morning, there were an astonishing five females!
Five plus one male. Are all these females siblings? I would expect the mother to be hunting like mad and not perched with her chidden.

One of the female fledglings on our roof.

I wonder what they think about the fireworks? Saturday night was the worse night yet, launched from nearby in the park and from right across the street, an intermittent barrage from 10pm until 3:30am. Bursts could be seen through closed eyes.

Another Very Special Edition of Raptor Wednesday

I was worried. It’s late June. Shouldn’t I have seen these fledglings sooner? In truth, they don’t look like they came out of the nest yesterday. I suspect they’ve been out and around for a few days now.
She scrunches down before lift-off.

There was actually a young male up there, too. I’d heard somebody behind the bulkhead, but it wasn’t until the female flew that I found the source of the vocalizations.
So, at least two successful fledglings! Keeping an eye out for more.

A Very Special Edition of Raptor Wednesday

Yup, it’s Thursday, but yesterday morning an American Kestrel caught my eye because it crossed the bow of the apartment windows and landed in a tree.
It was where it landed that was out of the ordinary. Usually, the #BrooklynKestrels pair land up near the top of the tallest London Plane tree bordering the park. This was much lower down and way out on a branch. Curious, I trained the ‘scope on the creature. No blue wings, so female. And she looked like she had a rather fuzzy head.
Yes, a female fledgling. Soon her mother was in the air chasing a crow. Then the male, or at least a male, was in the air, too. The female fledgling flew up towards our building and I wondered if she was on the roof…
Fuzzy head, very pale legs (they will turn yellow with time), and a pale cere, the skin right above the bill (this will also darken with time and become yellowish).
Pouncing on invisible prey… all the usual signs of youth.

Ladies and gentlemen, we finally have fledglings.

Big city, small falcon.

Masha Gessan on moral clarity.

This review, too, of Gessan’s new book.


Fish Crows, by the sound of them, harrying the male American Kestrel.
They did not seem to be making much of an impression.

In other media, I didn’t do one of my listening tours this year because of you know what, but I did talk to WNYC’s Amy Pearl about listening to nature.

Raptor Wednesday

In a London plane tree across the street, the American Kestrel male stashes prey. The nesting kestrels used this same spot two years ago, too.
These last two pictures are from the same day, but different caches. Both, obviously, bird. Note that the kestrels will eat their prey’s feet, swallowing with the toes pointed outwards, for obvious reasons…

Raptor Wednesday

The local male American Kestrel. He’s working like a dog now that there must be nestlings in the hole in the cornice where the nest is.
These photos, from Sunday morning, document him hunting and eating insects. From the size and color, I’d say roaches or waterbugs that he was grabbing off a couple of rooftops across the street. He used a pair of dish antennae as perches to eat.There aren’t many bites in even a large insect. Especially considering the crunchy chitinous exterior. A bit of that being dropped here.
Some quick cleaning of his toes and a few strops of his bill on the edge of the dish before his next sortie.

Less then ten minutes later, he was on the nearby TV antenna calling out in that trilling purr he uses to signal fresh meat for the female in the nest nearby. He’d killed a bird for brunch.

Daily Raptor

The male was eating.
He holds the gobbet of meat. Probably bird, although last week I saw he was munching on a small mammal, a baby rat or a mouse. (Photo through screen window.)
And then, on Monday evening, the female was eating a lizard!

I first became aware of Italian Wall Lizards because of a picture that circulated some years ago. It showed an American Kestrel flying to a nest in Manhattan and ladened with a lizard. There are native East Coast species of lizards (for example, Eastern Fence) but none are found in NYC any longer. Podarcis siculus ssp. campestris is an introduced species. A native of the Mediterranean region, they were first bought in for the pernicious pet trade and that perverse market of those who keep wild animals captive. The lizards escaped out in Long Island and for half a century they have expanded — often along rock-strewn railroad lines.

I saw my first in a cemetery in Queens. The rocky outcrop at the Native Garden at NYBG is a reliable place to see them. Last year, I saw some in Brooklyn.
And so now, obviously, have the kestrels.

This lizard is now being converted into falcon eggs.

Raptor Wednesday

A Red-tail on the roof.
Same building. We call it the solar building because of the solar panels on the roof. The female American Kestrel, on the left, is vocalizing. She’s noisy.
In real life (vision), they’re tiny on this drain pipe housing. Even this is telephoto and cropped.
A little closer, across the street.

Raptor Wednesday

If you crossed Rear Window and The Birds
The local American Kestrels making more little falcons. Copulation lasts about ten seconds. Frequency seems to be key. They’ll do it multiple times a day, totaling hundreds of times over the pre-brooding period.


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