The mighty kestrel

The kestrel is a smaller type of falcon. It has adapted to human company and has been known to nest even in large cities, where it preys chiefly on sparrows. In the countryside it takes insects, small birds, and rodents, capturing its prey on the ground rather than in midair like other falcons.

Kestrels prey upon voles and other small mammals, as well as earthworms, large insects, small birds, and frogs.Kestrels need to eat 4-8 voles a day, depending on the time of the year and the amount of hovering they do. They have a habit of catching several voles in succession and cacheing some for later.

A kestrel has outstanding eyesight, and is capable of spotting prey at prodiguous distances. It can see and catch a beetle 50 m from its perch.

The female does most of the incubating and is fed by the male. The male calls out to the female as he approaches the nest with food. At that point, the female comes forth, receives the food, and returns to the nest. The male continues to be the main "breadwinner" even after the young kestrels hatch. The fledgling kestrels stays with the adults for a while. (Exactly how long? I don't know.)

The information contained herein is based in part on the Wikipedia entry for kestrels.


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