American Kestrel a skillful predator


As I drove down the main entrance road to Teller Refuge, I stopped to watch a small dove size bird hovering above the two-foot vegetation only to disappear in a quick dive to the surface below. Within seconds the bird lifted above the vegetation and flew to a nearby wooded post to consume its catch. The bird wasted no time tearing the small rodent into swallowing size pieces. Soon, several black-billed magpies flew in to harass this skillful predator, which you could detect, aggravated the bird that clung tightly to its prize. Within seconds it took flight clutching what remained of its earned meal and flew from its tormentors. The bird I was watching was the American kestrel. For years known as the sparrow hawk, this small raptor is actually the smallest North American member of the falcon family.

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Teller Wildlife Refuge