American Kestrels hold a special interest for me, they are North America’s smallest falcon but what they lack in size they make up for in attitude. These falcons can be feisty.
Here in Utah they are difficult to approach except for during the winter, they get “stickier” in the cold. We have a stable population of American Kestrels in Utah but in other parts of the United States their populations are declining.
I spotted this male American Kestrel resting on the top of a Rabbitbrush that was fairly close to the road I was on and after a few minutes the kestrel began to preen. As handsome as they are most of the time they can look quite goofy while preening.
I’m always pleased when I can get close enough to an American Kestrel to get images but I was even happier to get these while the small falcon was preening and paid little attention to me. In the photo above the bird was pulling its tail feather through its bill to clean it.
As the falcon preened I was able to anticipate the movements it made and that gave me some interesting shots.
I really liked the pose above, the Kestrel was just rubbing its head against its shoulder while it preened and quite often the eyes are closed when this occurs so I was glad that I had eye contact in this frame plus the lifted wing.
I had a lot of fun photographing this preening American Kestrel and appreciated the lovely setting, light and the various poses that it gave me.