Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

Raptor Wednesday

This is, approximately, what the chapel looks like from the road.
The point here is that the female American Kestrel up there saw a two-inch long grasshopper on the road and swept down to pluck it right up. She flew back up to the chapel top to dispatch it.
Same bird, nearby.
Further afield in Green-Wood: a female who had just finished eating something and then stropping her bill.

I think I saw four separate kestrels this day, unless they were following me…
Here’s a male.

Raptor Wednesday

Spotted belly and thick black band on the outer edge of the tail.
Blue wings, strong black band again. Male American Kestrels.
Streaky belly, only a thin black band on the edge of the tail: female American Kestrels. The topside of her wings are also reddish, but we can’t see this from below.

Raptor Wednesday With Gliders

Two American Kestrel males in Green-Wood.

Hunting must be good here, because I’ve seen kestrels in this area for years. There are some great perches, with meadow below. When I was there Saturday, both Spot-winged and Wandering Gliders, the orange-y dragonflies that seem to be constantly in the air, were flying at eye-level. Kestrels eat dragonflies. Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside — one supposes.

Rare to see a Wandering Glider perched. They’re on the wing most of the time. The Flying Dutchman of dragonflies.
Spot-winged Glider. They don’t perch much either, but perhaps a little bit more than the Wandering. Fairly similar, but with small dark patches at the hindwing base.
These smudges can be seen in flight…

Raptor Wednesday

Sometimes far…
Sometimes near.

The local American Kestrels. Three or four still seen most days.

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…


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