Bird on a Wire – American Kestrel

I like to keep an eye on the telephone wires and poles while driving between Courtenay and Black Creek on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. This winter I’ve seen an American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) on a couple of occasions but never have had the chance to stop and take a photo.

This week I had the good fortune to not only spot another – this one a male – but also had the luck of fairly good light and weather. Click on the images for a larger view.

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
A male American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) perched on a telephone wire in the Comox Valley, Vancouver Island, BC.

On our spring trips to the Okanagan kestrels are a common sight. Here in the Comox Valley they’re a little more of a treat to see.

The American Kestrel is North America’s smallest falcon – it measures in at a diminutive 20 to 30 cm in length and a 50 to 60 cm wingspan. They are a strikingly beautiful falcon. The males have a rich rufous back and tail with contrasting blue/gray wings. The tail has a black bar and a white tip. Facial markings are bold and, like the Peregrine Falcon, it has a black “moustache” under the eye.

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)
An American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) backlit by the late afternoon sun.

I’m going to continue looking for this fabulous falcon on old Highway 19A. There’s plenty of farm fields along the way that will make good habitat for the insects, rodents, and small birds that they eat so I’m sure that I’ll see another soon.

If you’ve had some interesting birding experiences and blog about them send me an email or leave a comment below. I’m hosting the next edition of I and the Bird here at Island Nature on March 3rd, 2011 and would love to profile your blog.

In the meantime, check out some of these great posts and pictures of American Kestrels: