Monday, April 15, 2019

Breakfast for an American Kestrel

I heard a lot of squawking in the backyard yesterday morning. I saw two American kestrels at the top of a dead tree. I wondered what was going on, so got out my telephoto lens. It turned out the female was holding a lizard in her bill! The male was sitting nearby, making a lot of noise.

The noise continued and they kept turning their heads. American kestrels are our smallest falcons in North American, and also the most common. However, from 1966-2015, their population has decreased by 50% according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey (source).

 Having such a good view of these kestrels was quite a treat! But it appeared that they weren't going to stay put. The female wanted more space. She flew to a nearby tree branch, lizard still in mouth.

She transferred the lizard to her talons. Now she was making some noise. I wish I knew what she was saying.

Then it was time to eat. She started by pulling off the head.

Then came some innards.

Yum, yum!

She took a little break from eating. The lizard's head is now completely gone.

She's getting ready for the next course.

And now there are just lizard legs and a tail visible from her bill.

Minor readjustment.

And now just the top of the tail is left.

All done!

Here's the male. I guess he will have to find his own breakfast.

We're hoping this pair will nest in or near our yard, as they've done the past several years. 
To learn more about American kestrel life history, click here.

1 comment:

Kevin Loscheider said...

Hi Gretchen,

Love the photos!! - Kevin

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