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June 2, 2012 / Leslie

Weekend Birding: American Kestrel

A Rescue

Last weekend my dad called to tell me there was a bird hiding in his garage. He thought it might be a baby hawk. The bird had been roosting on top of the garage when it was spotted by robins. The robins have a nest in the yard and being good parents they identified it as a threat and began attacking it. After a while it panicked and flew into the garage and wouldn’t come out.

Time for a bird rescue. My husband and I were on our way to a Memorial Day picnic, but we would make a detour and help the bird.

American Kestrel

When we arrived the terrified bird was hiding under a work bench covered in sawdust and cobwebs. I only took a few photos because this was a very scared, young bird and I didn’t want to traumatize him any further. We got him into a box for a ride to the local wildlife center for a check up to make sure he wasn’t injured from the robin attack. When he recovered they would release him back in the area he was found.

American Kestrel

More About Kestrels

Isn’t this a beautiful bird? This is an American Kestrel, a small, colorful falcon. An adult is about the size of a Mourning Dove. This is not a common backyard bird and this was the first time I had seen one; a lifer for me. While they are not endangered, they are declining in some areas such as in New England, parts of the Pacific Coast, and Florida.

American Kestrels range across most of North America and parts of South America. They prefer open country and can be found in meadows, grasslands, deserts, parks, farm fields, cities, and suburbs and can often be seen perching on telephone wires. They eat mostly insects and other invertebrates, as well as small rodents and birds.

Kestrels nest in cavities such as old woodpecker holes or tree hollows and will also use nest boxes. Cornell Lab of Ornithology has a link to live streaming video of a Kestrel nest box in Boise, Idaho. The eggs hatched last week and there are five little ones.

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce at At Home With Books. Visit her blog to see more great photos or add your own.

© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.


Leave a Comment
  1. Eleenie / Jun 2 2012 2:51 am

    Yes, a very beautiful bird. I’m pleased that everything turned out ok for it.


  2. Diane@BibliophilebytheSea / Jun 2 2012 5:31 am

    So thrilled you can to his rescue. He is a beauty.


  3. Mary / Jun 2 2012 5:39 am

    I’m glad you could help him. He sure is beautiful!


  4. Cecilia / Jun 2 2012 5:39 am

    Beautiful picture!

    My snapshot:


  5. Susan / Jun 2 2012 6:18 am

    Oh, what a birding treat! To be able to do a bird rescue … we often have kestrels in our area of southwestern New Hampshire. They like the open fields and meadows around our home.

    Your poor little fledgling sure looks scared! I’m surprised the mother wasn’t ‘screeing’ around from the treetops nearby. Did you hear any commotion?


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:02 pm

      The parents were nowhere to be found. There is a huge forest preserve about a mile from the house and that is probably where he strayed from. He was in the yard and then garage for a few hours and still no sight or sound of a parent. Leaving him in the yard was not an option, the robins would have killed him. I’m guessing he was only a few days out of the nest and could barely fly and wouldn’t know how to hunt.


  6. Louise / Jun 2 2012 6:19 am

    What an extraordinary thing to happen! It’s certainly a very gorgeous bird. I’m glad you were there to help him. I find it so amazing that little “defenceless” birds like robins will take on birds of prey in this way. Clearly it works sometimes.


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:05 pm

      Nesting robins can be ferocious. There is a pair on the other side of my backyard fence with a nest in one of the neighbors trees. Last week I watched them harass and then chase an adult Cooper’s Hawk. Several little finches also joined in the chase. It was comical to see these little birds going after a hawk! But it was effective… the hawk left.


  7. kaye / Jun 2 2012 6:23 am

    Wow, Leslie, what a photo! I’m surprised you could catch him. We had a bird in our garage and it took hours to get him out.


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:08 pm

      He barely resisted. My husband brought big leather gloves in case the bird tried to bite but he barely resisted. We were able to pick him up and place him in the box. I think he was hoping we would take him to his mommy.


  8. Eugenia O'Neal / Jun 2 2012 6:46 am

    That was great! We used to have quite a few of them here in the Virgin Islands – we called them Chicken Hawks – but habitat loss has led to a decline in their numbers and one sees them rarely now, usually high in our hills.


  9. Paulita / Jun 2 2012 7:31 am

    Good for you that you saved him. He is gorgeous. One time we had a bird in the house when we came home. He must have come in through the chimney. It was our lucky day though, because somehow the cats had gotten locked in my daughter’s bedroom. Otherwise, I can’t imagine the mayhem I would have found as the cats tried to capture the bird. Here’s Mine


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:09 pm

      Lucky bird… the cats would have treated it as a play toy.


  10. laurelrainsnow / Jun 2 2012 8:07 am

    I love how you captured shots of birds we don’t normally see up close. Great story about the hawk….he does look very traumatized.

    Thanks for sharing….and here’s MY SATURDAY SNAPSHOT POST


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:10 pm

      The little guy was terrified. He was probably just out of the nest and lost his way.


  11. BermudaOnion / Jun 2 2012 8:20 am

    Poor thing! He is indeed gorgeous! I’m so glad you were able to rescue him. We get a hummingbird stuck in our garage almost every summer but can usually get them out on our own.


  12. Beth Lowe / Jun 2 2012 8:56 am

    Leslie, I’m so glad you were able to get the little guy out of your Dad’s garage and take it to the wildlife center. What a cool experience! He is a beautiful bird. I haven’t seen many kestrels lately here in north central Massachusetts; I miss them. As always, I love your photos and your stories, as well as your book recommendations.


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:27 pm

      He was gorgeous looking in person, and beautiful colors. This was the first Kestrel I’ve ever seen, up close anyway where I knew for sure it was a Kestrel. The wildlife center was happy that we brought him in. It’s not a bird you see everyday in the suburbs.


  13. Marie Burton (@BurtonReview) / Jun 2 2012 9:26 am

    Great pics, an! job well done! A very beautiful bird!


  14. cherylmahoney / Jun 2 2012 9:28 am

    I do love good-parent birds. But glad you were able to rescue this beautiful guy too!


    • Leslie / Jun 2 2012 12:29 pm

      Most birds are excellent parents with the exception of cowbirds, who let other bird species raise their young.


  15. Alyce (@AtHomeWithBooks) / Jun 2 2012 10:05 am

    A sad situation for the poor little bird, but so neat that you were able to see one for the first time and rescue him!


  16. carol - DizzyC / Jun 2 2012 10:45 am

    Beautiful bird, who didn’t look too happy.
    So glad you could rescue him



  17. Suko / Jun 2 2012 1:20 pm

    Beautiful photos!! You always manage to get the most wonderful pictures of birds.


  18. Nise' (Under the Boardwalk) / Jun 2 2012 4:39 pm

    What a beautiful bird. Glad you can to the rescue and were able to get a couple of pictures.


  19. Bev@My Reader's Block / Jun 2 2012 5:13 pm

    Gorgeous brown and black pattern along his back. So glad you were able to rescue him!

    Here’s my Snapshot.


  20. irene / Jun 2 2012 8:13 pm

    What a wonderful rescue. Great bird.


  21. Debbie Rodgers @Exurbanis / Jun 3 2012 8:17 am

    We have abundant kestrels here and enjoy watching them swoop low over the meadows.

    I’m glad you could help that youngster.


  22. Amy Peveto (@AmyPeveto) / Jun 3 2012 1:44 pm

    How pretty! I’m glad you were able to rescue him. I know he was a scared little guy, but in that first shot he looks very much like a little drunkard. 🙂


  23. Carol / Jun 4 2012 1:35 pm

    Poor little thing! I’m glad you could help him out.



  1. Weekend Birding: International Migratory Bird Day | Under My Apple Tree

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