The Travels of Tug 44

American Kestrel - Sparrow Hawk

Meet the Sparrow Hawk or American Kestrel, the fiercest little birdie in the Fort Edward grasslands. This one is a female, with the brownish wings.   high-res

The American Kestrel, also known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small falcon that preys on insects, lizards, mice and small birds including Sparrows, hence the name Sparrow Hawk.   high-res

Kestrels are very difficult to photograph, they flee from approaching cars and allow no time at all to set up the camera. I found a technique that works, I move the car in their direction very very slowly and sneak up on them bit by bit and then photo from the car window.   high-res

I took this photo on Christmas Day 2016, a male American Kestrel / Sparrow Hawk sitting on a wire.   high-res

I was able to drive very close to the bird, and took the shot thru the gap between my car's windshield and the lifted convertible top. This method allows me to have something like a rolling duck blind and I can get a lot closer ... but they fly pretty soon anyway, but I got the launch! Love those colors!   high-res

I got this and the next photo of a captive male Sparrow Hawk at the 2014 Winter Raptor Fest in Fort Edward NY, a local event where many predatory birds are shown. The blue-gray wings indicate it's a male, the females have brownish wings.   high-res

The American Kestrel has beautiful coloration, and this one kept showing off for me. Beautiful little birdies.   high-res

January 21 2017, I spotted this Sparrow Hawk on a pole in Fort Edward. I was blessed with excellent photo conditions that day.   high-res

To my amazement, this Kestrel did not fly away as I approached, though he did move to a branch on a nearby tree. And he started posing for me, and showing off his beautiful red tail, and a bit of his wings.   high-res

And in case that wasn't enough he also spread his tail for me.   high-res

During the 10 minutes I was photograhing him, he kept his eye on me the entire time.   high-res

... and off he flies!   high-res

May 2017 - I met this little guy at the Winter Raptor Fest at our local Washington County Fairgrounds. He has some of the best colors I have ever seen on this species.   high-res

The American Kestrel or Sparrow Hawk ... one of the prettiest little birdies out there.

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