I like to believe this American Kestrel was proudly showing me his latest catch, but I may be wrong about that.
Rather, he seemed unimpressed and untroubled by my presence just below the roadside power line.
That's a good thing.
The zebra-tailed lizard in his mouth was past showing any emotion.
American Kestrels are commonly seen hunting from utility wires. Predictably though, they'll fly away as your car approaches. This is a female and she's ready to departure any second now.
She did. She circled around only to come back to the same spot when I passed.
You'll occasionally see these small falcons flapping against the wind over an open field. They're flying in place to watch for movement in the grass below.
American Kestrels eat grasshoppers, small mammals, and now I can say for certainty... lizards.
This zebra-tailed lizard must have been tasty throughout, all the way down to its zebra striped tail, as that's all that's left now.
One medium lizard is a generous meal for this dove-sized falcon.
Being the smallest member of the falcon family, it serves the little falcon well to remain alert to danger. Several species of hawks, barn owls and crows prey on the American Kestrel.
Credits: Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds
The Sibley's Guide to Birds