Kestrel at sunset

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Falcon at sunset, on the tip top of a neighbor’s palm. This is an American Kestrel, to be exact.

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The American kestrel usually hunts in energy conserving fashion by perching and scanning the ground for prey to ambush, though it also hunts from the air. It sometimes hovers in the air with rapid wing beats while homing in on prey. Its diet typically consists of grasshoppers and other insects, lizards, mice, and small birds (e.g. sparrows). This broad diet has contributed to its wide success as a species.

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This kestrel arrived back in the neighborhood a month or so ago. I often see it in this exact spot, sometimes for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. Seems like a pretty chill little raptor.

Last year: Angel on top of the tree.

Angel on top of the tree

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Walked a mile in my neighborhood just now and couldn’t find any birds except some vultures swirling overhead and some tiny warblers too speedy to capture.

Got back to our new house and found an American Kestrel perched on the tip top of our giant Norfolk Island pine. Score!

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body. It’s one of the most colorful of all raptors: the male’s slate-blue head and wings contrast elegantly with his rusty-red back and tail; the female has the same warm reddish on her wings, back, and tail. Hunting for insects and other small prey in open territory, kestrels perch on wires or poles, or hover facing into the wind, flapping and adjusting their long tails to stay in place. Kestrels are declining in parts of their range; you can help them by putting up nest boxes.

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Anhinga Trail

green heron

Green Heron in the Everglades.

These small herons crouch patiently to surprise fish with a snatch of their daggerlike bill. They sometimes lure in fish using small items such as twigs or insects as bait.

Lots of birds and some (slow and quiet) bird watchers on the fabulous Anhinga Trail, off the main park road early in the morning on Thursday, February 26.

Photo album: Anhinga Trail

anhinga nest

Anhinga nest with chicks! I believe the adult bird on the right is the female.

A bird of southern swamps, the Anhinga is known as the Water-Turkey for its swimming habits and broad tail, and also as the Snake-Bird for its habit of swimming with just its long head and neck sticking out of the water.

cormorant

Cormorants have turquoise eyes!

white ibis

White Ibis.

Native American folklore held that the bird was the last to seek shelter before a hurricane, and the first to emerge afterwards. The bird was thus a symbol for danger and optimism.

kestrel

Spotted a kestrel at the south end of the main park road, in Flamingo.

North America’s littlest falcon, the American Kestrel packs a predator’s fierce intensity into its small body.

I could spend days and days in the Everglades.