Saturday, February 28, 2015

American Kestrel Catches Sparrow

We've had several snow storms coming through our region in recent days, and so many of us have enjoyed watching all the little birds - sparrows, cardinals, blue jays - out in the snow.  Some neighbors keep bird seed feeders outside their apartments, others of us just throw out the occasional bread crumbs. 
This particular day I was taking some pictures of the birds outside and suddenly I saw this colorful bird I'd never seen before hopping around on top of the shrub. 
Come to find out this is an American Kestrel, a type of small falcon.  He had been hunting the smaller birds feeding on the ground, and I captured his catch.
Needless to say, some of the photos below may be a bit graphic as it involves the dying sparrow that the Kestrel caught.

At first, I did not realize that the Kestrel was hunting the other birds since he disappeared into the shrub, but I realized when he came out he was carrying one of the small sparrows. 

The sparrow was still alive, but regardless of whether I tried to shoo the falcon off save the little guy, he was already injured enough that he wasn't going to make it.  I figured the Kestrel needs to eat too, but I did feel a little guilty for throwing crumbs out and that the sparrows had their guard down while they ate.

It was such a neat opportunity to see nature happen at my doorstep.  It is such a beautiful bird, and I'll like him so long as he doesn't stay here and hunt all the little birds that always eat here.
He obviously saw me taking pictures of him, since he looked directly at me several times before he flew to a nearby tree with his dinner.
While the birds look beautiful in the snow, I'm hoping winter and all these snow storms will die off during March. 
How is winter looking where you live?
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  1. Wow, in that last photo, he looks pretty fierce!

  2. He doesn't look very happy about having his picture taken! He is beautiful, how awesome that you were able to get such cool pictures!

  3. Wow, what an opportunity... really nature on your doorstep ;)

  4. Well, that's nature. Not always pretty to witness, but still fascinating. Great capture! I'm over here from OWB Sunday potluck.

  5. The cycle of life can be a tough watch! Thanks for the up-close look at a beautiful bird I wasn't familiar with!


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