American Kestrel carrying prey up to a perch.
I was really proud of this photo. I love American Kestrels, but they’re such small and skittish birds. It’s like trying to photograph a sparrow with the fear circle of a Red-Tailed Hawk.
I found this one perching on a power line, as they often do. The light was getting really good, and it seemed to be scanning the ground with interest. I noticed a convenient place to park just across the road. I figured it wouldn’t take all that long for it to pounce, and my car would make a good blind in the meantime. After about 10 minutes of waiting, the kestrel was rewarded with a small morsel, and I was rewarded with a kestrel in flight carrying its prey up to a perch for devouring. Subsequent research told me that kestrels on the hunt pounce anywhere from three to fifteen times per hour, and succeed one third to two thirds of the time. Maybe next time I try this it’ll catch something just a bit closer to me.