American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
North America's smallest and most common bird of prey is perhaps the most handsome. Only 25 cm in length, the American kestrel is reddish-brown and ashy-blue in color, with a black and white face pattern.
The name kestrel is likely derived from the Old French word "cresserelle", which means crest, referring to the bird's reddish-brown back and crown patch. Once called the "sparrow hawk", the name was changed to kestrel because it technically is a falcon not a hawk. Falcons have long, pointed wings and rapid wing strokes. They do not soar high in the sky as do hawks.
They primarily eat insects, especially grasshoppers, crickets and beetles, but may also prey upon mice, frogs, small snakes and small birds.
Kestrels inhabit open areas. These small birds are cavity nesters. They use abandoned woodpecker nests or other cavities such as telephone poles and large aspen rees.
Kestrels lay three to five eggs in the last two weeks of May. The eggs hatch in 29 to 31 days and the young are fed for another 30 days. Young kestrels leave the nest between mid to late July.
The birds of prey in the Park came here injured and although partially rehabilitated cannot be returned to their natural habitat.