Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

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.

The Return

Look who showed up on the knob perch across the street! It’s a male American Kestrel. I think it is the male American Kestrel, the pater familias of the falcon family who nested on the corner. I’ve seen a male a few times over the last few months; I don’t think he went anywhere. This is his territory. But this was the first time in months that I’ve seen him here.And here! Another old perch. This was Thursday, the coldest morning so far of the fall: this perch is out of the wind and in the sun. Friday, he was up on the chimney pot and roof post he used to favor in late winter.on Thursday I saw two male American Kestrels perched within a 100 yards of each other in Green-Wood. One was being harried by two Blue Jays.Friday: I spotted a male on a distant antenna across the street from Green-Wood. Another Blue Jay was policing the situation.

Raptor Wednesday

I’ve wrapped up the #BrooklynKestrels season on the pages of the Clapper Rail, the publication of the Brooklyn Bird Club. Check it, as the kids say, out.It’s a double-raptor issue.

Raptor Wednesday

Anticlimactic: that’s what the post-fledgling scene was for the #BrooklynKestrels. Two months of cornice work, followed by two weeks of sightings of a trio of fledglings. Then nada. Well, not quite true. The male parent has been spotted sporadically on the large car service antenna one long avenue block from the nest site. This is his old k-perch, but he rarely used it during nesting. The female parent was been sighted a few times in July, too, but I suspect she’s moved to her own territory. One or two of the female fledglings were spotted, too. Afraid we’ll never know where they went… or if they survived. Odds are not good. One statistic I’ve seen is that two of three raptors don’t live to their first birthday. But that’s an average.

Six months of American Kestrels outside our windows! Often right across the street, perching atop a raised fist of London Plane. Half a year of flying, screaming, killing, copulating, and killing some more (my goodness, they scythed through the local songbird population). Also hovering over passing Fish Crows; driving Red-tailed Hawks from the scene; stashing prey on a rooftop lined with solar panels and inside a hollowed knot in the Plane tree across the street (tiny little songbird feed sticking out it). What a glorious experience.

Keep your eyes on the sky. And the local cornices.

AMKE Saturday

The male of the #BrooklynKestrels pair. I don’t know why he has this gape in his chest feathers. It’s gotten bigger and more noticeable over time. Some commenters on Twitter suggested it was a brood patch for a second round of eggs, but it seems high up on the body for that. Also, as far as I can tell, this male did diddly on the brooding front first time around. And I’ve seen no copulation activity locally (doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened, but this spring it was front and center). Interestingly, the Friend of the Falcons reports that the Chinatown Kestrel pair have been copulating now that their fledglings are out and about. He’s been perching on the tall car service antenna down the avenue a lot again. This was his old perch from his bachelor days in January. He was rarely spotted here during courting and nesting. Conversely, he’s only been spotted once here on “the perch” atop the London Plane across the street (these pictures are from last weekend).

Every bird species is given a four letter code for banding/ringing record-keeping. Most are made up of first two letters of their official common name: AMerican KEstrel.

Summer

You never know what you’ll see out there. Sure, the frying days of summer make it hard to enjoy the brute sun and humidity, but on Saturday we had a respite from the heat tsunami. So off we wandered down to Bush Terminal Park, where lo and behold! Two amazing (and concurrent) sights/sounds.

 


1. A couple dozen Laughing Gulls were flying low over the recently mown meadow hillock. As we got closer, we realized they were hunting the plentiful Green June Bugs, which were swarming low to the ground. The gulls were snapping the beetles up and swallowing them whole.The beetles rarely paused in flight, but I did catch this one. Note that one of the beetle’s wing isn’t fully tucked under the elytra.

2. As we approached the park, we saw a pair of American Kestrels over the statue of old man Bush (the developer of the docks, in an era before we realized how damn evil developers are). Inside the park, we heard a Killdeer in great agitation on the other side of the fencing that separates the park off from the empty concrete and weed jumble (presumably the site of ugly apartment buildings in the future).

Sure, Killdeer always sound like they’re agitated, but here was extra good reason. That’s a Kestrel there in the background. On the far fence, like these two:There were at least three Kestrels. They made passes over the Killdeer, flushing it into the air. Then the rowdy Killdeer would turn around and chase the Kestrel. A couple of Mockingbirds also harried the Kestrels. When the Kestrels flew further afield towards the June bug fiesta, a Red-wing Blackbird went after them. The Laughing Gulls also chased the falcons, who, we know, also love to eat Green Junies.

Now, a couple of weeks ago, we saw a Killdeer fly into this fenced area and thought, huh, could a pair be nesting in that desolation? Killdeer will nest practically anywhere, often quite close to people. The fence didn’t stop a photographer and model Saturday, and the whole neighborhood is beset with feral cats. And yet, there were three Killdeers visible there Saturday. One definitely looked like a juvenile. We only spotted it after the Kestrels flew off. (Although the falcons came back later). I gathered the noisy adult was trying to lure the falcons away and/or telling the youngster(s) to sit tight.

Team Kestrel was made up of two females and one male. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Were they the #BrooklynKestrels generation? Bush Terminal is five avenue blocks away from the nest (a little more than half a mile).

One More Time

Five #BrooklynKestrels outside the window can be overwhelming, even though I’ve never seen more than four at a time. The young ones don’t perch as long as the adults, at least not that I’ve seen. They’re much more, uh, flighty. This is one of the two female fledglings. Why yes, that’s right: she’s got a beetle. (It might be Paul?)Looks like a Green June Bug (Cotinis nitida), one of the big scarabs found this time of year in gardens and the like. Hundreds of them were flying low to the grasses at Bush Terminal yesterday.Did she catch it or was it given to her by one of the adults.


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