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American kestrel        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Kestrels are lovely, personable little falcons found throughout much of North and South America.   Their only faults are that they are fairly shy and difficult to photograph, and when they do permit close approach they're rarely perched on anything other than power lines or metal fence posts (or sometimes wooden fence posts if I'm lucky).   These images show both the colorful males and the overall rusty-brown females, which lack the males' blue-gray wings and   Note the considerable variation in the amount of rusty streaking on the females (I'm not sure if this is age-related).   I took most of these pictures out of my car window, with the exception of the very accommodating male eating a side-blotched lizard (below, left).   The photos were taken in many places; California locations include the upper Panoche Valley in San Benito County, the San Jacinto Wildlife Area near Riverside, coastal Orange County, Pebble Beach, near Palm Desert, and Convict Creek in Mono County (eastern Sierra Nevada).   Other images (including the ones immediately below of a male eating a mouse) were made on Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake, Utah, and in Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico.
        More images of kestrels are here and hereAnother page has a photo showing the size difference between kestrels and their close relative, the peregrine falcon.

  • Canon 10D, 1D Mk. II, 1D3, 7D, or 1D4; 800 mm IS lens + 1.4X or 500 mm IS lens plus 1.4X (flight shots) or 2X converter, some with fill-in flash (2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011)