American Kestrel

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While recently walking at The Lexington Arboretum,  I noticed a bird high in the trees. The zoom on my camera allowed me to get a closer look, and I was delighted to see it was an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), sometimes called a Sparrow Hawk.

American Kestrel front view

These are one of our smallest hawks – about the size of a Mourning Dove. I’ve often seen them in flight, however this was my first chance to get a closer look. I love its speckled breast and black ‘sideburns’.

American Kestrel

I enjoyed watching this bird, and at times it also seemed to be watching me. Perhaps it was looking for my sideburns? 🙂

8 thoughts on “American Kestrel”

  1. Great sighting, Betty. Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos of this beautiful bird. I’ll keep my eyes out for this one when I’m at the Arboretum.

  2. Love those little birds. We saw a record number of them this year on the Christmas Bird Count in Boyle County. Don’t know why but there have definitely been more around. Must be good hunting in Kentucky. Lovely photos as always.

  3. What a beautiful looking bird ……. a pity it is a bird of prey! But that’s nature, and they need to eat too!
    I find it interesting Betty, that this bird has two different names, whereas in the U.K. we have both the Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) and the Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nidus ). Two different birds of prey. I am not very fond of the S’hawk as they
    are very vicious and kill on the wing tearing it’s prey apart…… seen it in my garden, and find it very upsetting!
    The Kestrel tends to go after small mammals,beetles,worms, lizards and only occasionally small birds. I really like these
    two photos, and how they show off the beautiful markings on this pretty bird. Thank you again for your great Backyard Blog.

    1. Pauline, it’s interesting to learn about your birds of prey in Jersey Island. Your Kestrel certainly resembles ours and I see that it hovers much the same way that ours does. As to your Sparrowhawk, I can understand its way of getting food would be upsetting. I have to remind myself that nature’s ways are not always beautiful or kind, and that the primary goal is survival. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Hi, enjoyed the Hawk so much. It amaze me how close that you can get on some of the rare birds. The hawk looked like it wanted to say something.

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