Male American Kestrel turning in flight – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/3200, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited
As a bird photographer I like to take images where where my subject fills the frame so that all the fine plumage details can be seen by anyone viewing the photos and where a sense of intimacy with the subject is conveyed as it can be when I able to take close ups or portraits of my subjects. I also like to take photos where the birds are small in the frame because they can show more of the background or the habitat my subjects are found in.
While I would have enjoyed having this male American Kestrel closer to me as it turned in flight than it was yesterday morning I found that I liked this frame with the tiny falcon turning in flight being small in the frame too. Why? Because even though the habitat the kestrel is flying over is out of focus it lends a “sense of place” to the image that wouldn’t have been conveyed if the kestrel filled the frame more than it does.
Also, the size of the falcon in this frame is what we are more likely to see with our naked eyes as humans without the aid of scopes, binocs or long lenses.
Did you know that kestrels often cache prey to keep for feeding on later? I watched as this male cached a vole at the base of a clump of vegetation before he took flight which is when I took this photo.
Life is good.
American Kestrel facts and information:
- The American Kestrel is the smallest and most colorful falcon species of North America.
- The male and female are alike in shape but different in coloration, the male has slate-blue wings and head that contrast nicely with his rusty back and tail and the female has those same rusty tones on her back, wings and tail. The female also has a barred pattern on her back, wings and tail. Both the male and female have boldly patterned heads.
- They hunt mainly for insects and small mammals but will take a small bird when they have the chance. American Kestrels usually capture their prey on the ground but they will also catch prey on the wing.
- Their habitat includes, open meadows, grasslands, deserts, road sides, towns, cities and farmlands.
- American Kestrels are cavity nesters. They lay between 3 to 7 eggs which take 26 to 32 days to hatch. The female is the primary incubator but males will also incubate on occasion.
- A common nickname for American Kestrels is “Sparrow Hawk”.
- A group of falcons can be called a “bazaar”, “eyrie”, “stooping up” and a “tower” of falcons.
- American Kestrels live between 10 to 15 years.