Monday, February 2, 2009

A Comparison of Kestrels

From a windy day out on the Katy Prairie, a big stretch of farmland due west of Houston.

After the torrential rains and destructive winds we received with a direct hit from Hurricane Ike last fall, the upper gulf coast of Texas has been experiencing a drought for the past few months. The farmers and landowners along the Katy Prairie normally flood many of their fields during the winter months, providing a nice haven for migrating waterfowl and waders that come our way. But the lack of water this year has made it hard to find many of these seasonal visitors.

Luckily, there are plenty of other beautiful things to watch in the area, even when many of them are hunkered down against a beating wind.

click image to enlarge
American Kestrel, female (Falco sparverius)

This female Kestrel was quite content to sit on her wire perch overhead. As I drove toward her, she turned to peer at me once or twice, but didn't seem to be bothered by my slow progression.

A quarter mile farther down the road, however, I spotted this slightly smaller, rufous-backed male that was not nearly so settled. He launched repeatedly from the metal cable, hovering over the fields for brief periods before battling his way against the wind to perch again in a new spot.

click image to enlarge
American Kestrel, male

For more great bird photos from around the world, check out Bird Photography Weekly #23.

Bird Photography Weekly


Kallen305 said...

Wonderful photos. I have never seen one myself and am in awe over their colors, especially around the eyes.

mick said...

Great photos and interesting to compare the male and female. Also interesting to compare them to the Nankeen Kestrels we have out here in Australia.

Larry Jordan said...

Hey Kyle, super captures of the male and female American Kestrels! I have a few I see almost daily on the wires along the road I travel to and from work. I am going to make a greater effort to get photos of them after seeing your shots.

I am always traveling too fast to stop slowly enough not to scare them off. They are smart birds of prey. Whenever I stop to photograph them, they take off and fly back in the direction I came from and land on the section of wire I already passed. I also have a nest box mounted on my property, waiting for a pair to stay with me.

Neil said...

Love the colour of the Male

Anonymous said...

I have the same problem as Larry. The won't sit still for me. You managed to get some fantastic shots. I love the contrasting images.

Kelly said...

Love the Kestrel photos...they have such beautiful coloring! We see one fly through our yard every now and then. They are very exciting...and fast!!

Judy said...

They are both beautiful, but the male is a real showstopper!!

Sparverius said...

Kestrels are beautiful. And how lucky to get both a male and a female, and great photos of both.