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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation September 23, 2017


8/15/2017 1:53:00 PM
Sisters Country birds
photo by Douglas Beall
+ click to enlarge
photo by Douglas Beall


The American kestrel (Falco sparverius) is Sisters' most common small falcon. Often seen on fence-posts and telephone wires, this 8- to 12-inch tall bird is also known as the sparrowhawk.

They build their nests in cavities in trees, rock walls and even buildings. The male will choose several nest sites and present them to the female, and she makes the final decision. No nesting material is used except what is already in the cavity.

Incubation of 4-6 mottled yellowish white eggs for 26-32 days is shared by both male and female kestrels, and then the hatchlings are fed grasshoppers, moths, lizards, moles, mice and large variety of insects as they grow at a rapid pace. Fledging begins in 28-31 days and then the chicks for several months are taught to hunt for themselves.

For the last 17 years Don McCartney has installed nesting boxes throughout Central Oregon and tracked the hatching success with much assistance from volunteers, especially master raptor-bander Jim Anderson. This program has enabled the kestrels to maintain a healthy population as more nesting trees are removed and falcon habitat is shrinking.

Kestrels in groups are called a "hover," a "flight," or a "soar." On the British Isles the European kestrel is called a "windhover."

For more American kestrel photos visit http://abirdsingsbecauseithasa song.com/recent-journeys.





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