Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

Raptor Wednesday

A parade of Falco species!
Last Thursday afternoon and
then again Monday morning, a Peregrine (F. peregrinus) was atop St. Michael’s eating what looked like pigeon. (This butcher’s block, the highest perch for blocks, is two avenue blocks and one street block away from our apartment, approximately 500 meters/1640 feet, so these through-the-scope views leave much to be desired.)
A Merlin (F. columbarius) has been seen atop PS24 (1.75 avenue blocks by two regular blocks away) several times in the last weeks. Last week, there was one here and at the same time another perched on a much nearer tree, while in between, an American Kestrel (F. sparverius) was perched atop the antenna noted below. While visible from the apartment, this perch, on a mess of antennas, isn’t worth photographing from here. This photo was taken while walking to the subway station.

This past Monday morning, Peregrine and American Kestrel were seen the same time, then later Peregrine and Merlin at the same time, but the trinity trifecta of Peregrine, Merlin, and American Kestrel all at the same time remains elusive so far (yes, we’re pretty spoiled here in the raptor seat at the top of the moraine).
A male American Kestrel has been spotted almost daily (sometimes more than once per day) on the car service antenna (one avenue block by one street block away). This male is very russet-breasted but rather lightly marked with spots. (Photo from street-level.)

Across the street from this tall antenna, used by a car service, is a regular old TV antenna, unseen from our apartment but visible from the street. I got off the bus a block away from it last week and immediately spotted him up there, plucking prey. The feathers drifted down onto 40th St.
This is a photo from the apartment. The male Kestrel on the left, the Merlin on the right. The Kestrel was on the taller perch first, flew down when the Merlin showed up. Merlins are slightly bigger than Kestrels, with sexual dimorphism. Also, the left-hand antenna is not parallel with the main one, it’s angled away from us.

For completists, there is a fourth falcon species in this half of the continent. Gyrflacon (F. rusticolus) is generally a more northern bird. Long Island (we’re at the fish-shaped island’s western end) is within infrequent range, but I’ve never seen one in North America. (The West has the Prairie Falcon (F. mexicanus), another species I’ve never seen.

Raptor Wednesday

Merlins above Green-Wood.
Two sightings on one day well separated in space: one or two birds?
The lush meadow rising above the chapel has attracted sparrows and warblers, which means the bird-hunting falcons, too. Bother Merlins and American Kestrels having been perching on this scaffolding and on surrounding trees. Not at the same time: they will chase each off.
(Twice now from our apartment this month I’ve seen these two falcon species chasing each other as well.)

Raptor Wednesday

American Kestrel male with prey. Grasshopper, I think.
American Kestrel female bossing a Red-tailed Hawk. It was a chilly morning. The small falcon’s cry pulled my eyes skyward. The big buteo was were actually being harried by two kestrels.
This female was probably one of them. Several minutes later, I came across her hunting from funeral monument to funeral monument.

Raptor Wednesday

First off: we’ve had near daily American Kestrel sightings or hearings here at the H.Q. But today’s specimen sightings come from Green-Wood Cemetery.
A female atop what may be the largest obelisk in a cemetery full of them. (Curious how Christians went in for this paganism in Victorian times.)
Now here’s a male atop the flanking towers of the 25th St. gate.
What was most interesting here was that this bird flew into the Monk Parakeet colony’s nest.
He flew out soon enough, but then he flew to another entry, and perched there momentarily. Then he went into the nest.
Some five or so minutes later, he emerged to sit and look out for a spell. Then he went back inside.

Middle of the day. Parakeets yelling their heads off, as they are wont to do most of the time but particularly when there’s a threat about. The parakeets remained unseen during this time, so presumably they were hollering from inside what I presume is a multiple cavity nest/colony.

What was going on here amongst these long-lost cousins? (Falcons have been found to be more genetically related to parrots than they are to other raptors.) Predation? Monks Ps are only a little smaller than American Kestrels. Seems like challenging meal and a fight against a society, the parakeets being such colonial critters. Nest raiding? In late August? Scouting out a nocturnal nook? Amidst the loudest birds around?

Thoughts?

Raptor Wednesday

This is a young male American Kestrel. He brought some bird prey to this balustrade recently, and left it on the right hand corner. You can just see the lump. It was there for more than an hour as he flew here and here, perching here and there as well. Now, this building has been used as larder for two breeding seasons, but the falcons usually leave prey on the roof, under, I presume, the solar panels. The parapet prevents me from seeing the exact locations, but I suspect they know not to leave meat exposed. Too many sharp-eyed corvids about for that. Junior here probably has to learn the hard way.Another brightly spotty male. He zoomed past the Gothick entrance to Green-Wood, causing the parakeets to holler in fury. Perched atop a tree, he was the target of a Northern Mockingbird, who made several passes at him. Then he circled in ever widening circles overhead, moving off towards the northeast and actually chasing after a Chimney Swift, twice. Now, Falco cousins, the Hobbys, are supposed to be able to catch Common Swifts (Apus apus), which are bigger than our Chimney Swifts (Chaetura pelagica), but I think it would pretty unusual for an American Ks to catch a healthy CS. Another reason I think this was a young kestrel. Trying things out.

The last five mornings I’ve awoken to a Kestrel calling. The earliest was 5:30 a.m. Haven’t seen one, but the call is unmistakable.
***

“The very serious function of racism … is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work. It keeps you explaining, over and over again, your reason for being. Somebody says you have no language and so you spend 20 years proving that you do. Somebody says your head isn’t shaped properly so you have scientists working on the fact that it is. Somebody says that you have no art so you dredge that up. Somebody says that you have no kingdoms and so you dredge that up. None of that is necessary.”

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”

~ Toni Morrison, RIP.

Raptor Wednesday

The #BrooklynKestrels. Mother and daughters. The young ones tend to look plumper than she does, but I can’t see this in this particular picture. She’s still bringing them food — and this roof is still a larder. They fly down to it, out-of-sight, and come up with a pice of something. There have been some insect transfers: dragonflies and beetles are kestrel snacks.

The father hasn’t been spotted in more than a week. I don’t remember a similar absence last year. Hope the old boy is O.K. He had a very busy season. It’s a wonder there are any House Sparrows in the neighborhood at all.Siblings.

Momma was screaming at a trio of Fish Crows on Monday. She gave chase. The youngsters stayed on their perches. Another time, two Common Ravens passed overhead. They continued unmolested. Red-tailed Hawks in the area are always cause for commotion.

Raptor Wednesday

Monday morning dawned and lo and behold there were two female American Kestrels on the Solar Building! The one on the left had the tell-tale head fuzz of a fledgling. Just like that, voila! So there was another Brooklyn Kestrel in the house!Was there only one?

Within the hour that Monday morning: there were three separate kestrels in the air at the same time. All looked like females from my admittedly brief view.

About 50 minutes before sunset Tuesday, two female fledglings were on the solar building, perched side-by-side on one of the roof pipes. Sisters! The mother, who looks small in comparison after working so hard for these beasties, was also briefly perched up there at the same time.

No activity was seen in the nest this season. Admittedly, last year, I only saw two glimpses of young ones inside. Once, when one of the little air-tigers was grasping at a wind-tossed string somehow jammed into the structure, probably bought as nesting material by Starlings, who seem to have used this cavity before. I think this cavity is deeper than the 5th Avenue one, which had inquisitive faces poking out it this year and last year.

There were three successful fledglings last year, two female and one male. What became of them? The odds were not good for two of the three. Youngsters disperse as fall approaches. The mother bird heads elsewhere. This is the father’s territory. Back to today: no males of any age have seen in the last several days. The #BrooklynKestrels saga.


Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 590 other followers

Twitter

Nature Blog Network

Archives