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American Kestrel

American Kestrel
Photo Information
Copyright: Rick Price (Adanac) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-04-25
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Eos 300D Digital Rebel, Canon 100-400/4.5-5.6L IS
Exposure: f/11, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): CeltickRanger's favorite Bird of Prey photos [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-01-18 12:29
Viewed: 3949
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 44
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This image from my archives was taken near Brooks, Alberta. This American Kestrel was using an old dead cottonwood tree as a viewing stand to watch for potential prey.

American Kestrel
Falco sparverius
General Description

By Lee Sollenberger

This small species, breeding from Tierra del Fuego in South America to the northern treeline, is the most common falcon of North America. Formerly known as the "Sparrow Hawk", this attractive species occurs throughout the province, preferring partly open country with scattered trees. It has declined significantly in the aspen parkland, perhaps due to loss of trees with cavities, required for nesting.

A summer resident, the American Kestrel arrives in Alberta in late March or early April. It establishes its territory in a an open area where it can hunt for insects and small mammals. Most individuals migrate out of our area by early October but some try to overwinter. Northern birds travel as far south as Panama.

The favourite food of this small falcon is grasshoppers. Other invertebrates such as crickets, beetles and dragonflies, as well as spiders are also mainstays. It will take small rodents (voles, mice), shrews and the occasional frog and snake. Wintering kestrels will take small birds for survival. Interestingly, it drops feet-first to capture invertebrates, head-first for vertebrates, but always uses its feet to make the capture.

The American Kestrel chooses to raise its young in an old Northern Flicker or Pileated Woodpecker nest, or a natural cavity in a tree, sometimes in a cliff or bank. Occasionally it uses an old magpie nest. Where cavities are scarce, it will nest in a suitable recess in a building. It readily accepts man-made nesting boxes. Four to five eggs are laid with both sexes incubating, but mostly by the female. Incubation takes 28-30 days. The young fledge at 30 to 35 days.

eqshannon, angela926, Ena, jaycee, CeltickRanger, NinaM, ramthakur, Evelynn, earthtraveler, MMM has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Rick,
Very nice colours(colors;-) Very beautiful bird; really!
Nice blue sky.

Man oh man do you give the Kestrel some real sticking power through colours here Rick. It is quite the bird if you can get close enough...which I cannot..and I had plenty of opportunities...yet they all flew off..You sure do have some fine images there Rick. Very nicely done.

Hello Rick, very good shot, nice composition and pov, very good sharpness and nice colors.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-01-18 12:41]

Hello Rick,
Beautiful coloured photo of this Kestrel. Very nice pose, POV and composition.

  • Great 
  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-01-18 13:01]

Hi Rick,
Wow,beautiful shot!
Nice colors, good light and POV!

Oh! I would be much impressed to see this colorful raptor; what a beauty! Lightning, colors and details are wonderful and so are composition and POV. This is a great eye contact. How many little wonders like this do you have in your archives? Thanks,

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-01-18 15:18]

Hi Rick,

A wonderful Kestrel posing so nicely on the bare branches. He's looking right at you - must think you are prey. Colors are excellent. Beautiful face and plummage. It's nice to see something from your archives.


hello Rick

you did a superb shot, very well composed
with the excellent focus, excellent details of the plumage,
beautiful hard density colours, excellent POV
and excellent way the kestrel framed on the image

i had one chance, one experience to shot this beautiful bird
of pray, i noticed that he was very very fearful, everytime
i was doing my approach he was flying to farther trees,
so i decide to shoot him form far,
to at least have an image from this bird



  • Great 
  • NinaM Gold Star Critiquer [C: 773 W: 3 N: 1157] (4077)
  • [2008-01-18 17:30]

Hi Rick, I love that picture of this bird, I haven't seen many on TN but haven't been a long time here either... I find they are among the nicest birds of prey and it really shows on this picture. The colours are lovely and natural. Thanks once more and thanks also for the interesting notes. By the way, you sure are a good stalker.


  • Great 
  • lizzie Gold Star Critiquer [C: 207 W: 0 N: 605] (2855)
  • [2008-01-18 17:39]

Hi Rick,

Just to be able to photograph them, it's an art, they fly as soon as they hear something, I've never been able to take a picture of one. Congratulations for this one, very nice bright colours with an excellent capture of the eye. Well done!


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-01-18 18:51]

Hi Rick,
Appreciate and like this wonderful shot from you. Out of town, hence doing a short job. Sorry friend.

Rick, this is a lovely picture you took in 2005. The bird looks truly beautiful with the blurred branches against the blue sky for a background.
The plumage of the bird is very attractive.
TFS and regards.

Hi Rick,
Nice shot of this Kestrel. The bird is wonderfully clear and the POV/pose shows it's beautiful colorations well.
Interesting note. TFS

I love Kestrels. The are so pretty. The colors look very natural and you managed perfect focus on the eye. It is a nice capture.

Evelynn ; )

  • Great 
  • pvs Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1127 W: 254 N: 3161] (14464)
  • [2008-01-19 0:05]

Hi Rick,

A nice capture of this colorfull and nice dressed kestrel,he poses nicely for you,tfs


  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-01-19 3:18]

Great image Rick!
The colours are really good here! The American Kestrels aer much prettier than our English versions!
Superb composition and POV.
The lighting is very pleasing.
Well done,

Hi Rick,
Quelle belle prise, d'une grande rareté, les couleurs sont très belles et le POV aussi.Merci

Hi Rick
great capture of this cute falcon. very few picture of american kestrel on TN, is it that much difficult to capture?

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2008-01-19 12:05]

Hello Rick
Very nice presentation.I never had the chance to capture one .Good POV and sharp image whit great details and lovely colors.
TFS Michel

  • Great 
  • hibou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 217 W: 1 N: 331] (1629)
  • [2008-01-20 6:30]

Hello Rick,
Very nice picture of this wonderfull bird... hard to be near by... TFS

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-01-20 17:35]

Hello Rick

A wonderful capture.
This is a well focused image with sharp details.
The lighting is excellent and producing vivid colour and plumage detail.
I really like the natural setting,you have composed the shot well.
The POV and DOF are well done.


  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-01-21 6:23]

I'm so jealous ! ;-) That's a wonderful shot of the Kestrel, very sharp, great exposure and fantastic pose, well done, thanks !


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