Posts Tagged 'kestrels'

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.


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.

Continuing KWIR

Apres le bain, the sisters nipped at each other’s feathers, clawed each other, and bit each other’s bills.One was rather vocal, but in a much more subdued way than the parents. Now, another school of thought here is that the bird on the left is the adult female, the mother bird. But I don’t think so. Because a third female was perched in the distance at the same time. I think this is the mother. She’s gone back to old haunts on the solar building. The male adult seems to be on the big antenna again a lot, too.But back to these two. Note the pale feet; they get darker with age.
Sitzplatz.And fledgling calls.


Yesterday, all three youngsters went for a dip in a roof-top puddle. Birds bathe to keep their feathers in good order. Where they bathe is a good question. The water shouldn’t be too deep.  There should be some seclusion, since a waterlogged bird is more vulnerable than a dry one. Here’s one answer.I’ve always suspected urban birds of use roofs for their baths.

Note how one of the females snags the male’s tail with a talon. They are very nippy with the bills. too.

The Kestrel Week in Review

One of the female fledglings perched on The Perch made famous by her parents.Male fledging sitting. Have never seen the adults do this.Kneeling. Perching on one foot.Walking (a hulking hopping to be more exact).Speaking of perching: when thinking about American Kestrel habitat, always be sure to include plenty of places to perch. These are the two female fledglings.And water for bathing. More anon…

Manhattan Kestrels

The Wild Bird Fund animal rescue center in Manhattan tweeted out a picture this week of the eight fledgling American Kestrels they have in-house (!). Most were evidently found on the little island itself. I can’t say whether or not any came from the three nests I’m aware of, one which is in Manhattan. Our agent on Manhattan, who prefers the anonymity of the mysterious moniker Friend of Falcons, has sent us more photos of this family in Chinatown. The adults are feeding their youngsters, a male and female. Two fledglings is on the low end of the average for a brood. Could one or more have hit the street on their first flight and then been picked up for rescue?Just don’t have the data. But, I think I can say this with some accuracy: there are a lot of American Kestrels who find the city a swell place to live.And reproduce. This is a surprise to me: these adults are copulating again with some regularity, in between providing their young with prey. Are they attempting a second brood? I think that would be rather unusual. I’ve not seen this behavior with our local #BrooklynKestrels.


And I thought Injustice Kennedy’s illogical and contradictory opinions were early-onset! Turns out it’s just more self-dealing and collusion. Even I’m pretty gobsmacked by this news: Anthony Kennedy’s son Justin was Trump’s banker at Deutsche Bank for a decade of real estate hustles. No American banks would lend to the orange-haired scam artist/TV clown; they called it the “Donald risk.” But Deutsche Bank did, with Justin Kennedy in charge of that division. They extended a billion dollar lifeline. DB is also a notorious money launderer. The other lifeline to the Trumps, which the incautious idiot sons of Trump have admitted, was Russian: oligarchs stick together.

Every decision Kennedy senior has made since Trump’s entry into the race in 2016 is now more than suspect. And that’s being generous. His whoredom was sealed in Bush v. Gore.


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