Wednesday, December 19, 2012

American Kestrel, Tucson

This American Kestrel was either hunting or trying not to be hunted.  Either situation made him very focused on his surroundings.  He nervously scanned the sky, while at the same time contending with another problem…wind.

My presence didn’t seem to bother him, as he was quite comfortable being photographed if I kept a respectable distance, but the wind was tiring him.  He struggled to remain balanced on a branch as a strong, 25 MPH wind blew in his face.

It took all his strength to hold on, while being bounced and buffeted.  When he felt it wasn’t worth it any longer, he left for a more sheltered hunting spot, one even closer to me.

The American Kestrel can be seen perched on a wire in rural America or hovering on a gentle wind over a grassy field.  That’s where they live and hunt.  They prey upon mice, voles, grasshoppers, beetles and bats.  He's a hunter, when he is not the prey.  He has enemies too and he’s not very big. 

The American Kestrel is our smallest falcon, Although a fierce fighter for his size, he's delicate too.  He’s no match for hawks, owls or even a snake, if he picks-on the wrong snake. Choosing wisely and being aware of his surroundings kept this American Kestrel safe today.  There were kestrel-hunters out there in the desert, so he wasn’t letting his guard down.

While holding on tightly as the wind tried to blow him off his branch, he took on a more windswept look. 

They normally have a more rounded, plump look.  They’re similar in size and shape to a Mourning Dove or Rock Dove (pigeon). True to form or not, the wind provided a nice opportunity to see this colorful bird more clearly.  As he leaned into the wind and fanned his tail for balance and stability, he provided me with a nice picture opportunity.   

He brought balance to his life and made my day, too!