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American Kestrel

American Kestrel snags its breakfast

It is a little tough to see as it is hanging off the opposite side of the branch, but this little falcon caught itself a meal nearly as big as it is! Yesterday I was wrapping up a walk along the South Platte River when I spotted this handsome guy just as he landed with his mouse. He only gave me a few captures then headed off to dine in private.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor.

A male American Kestrel holds on tight to its breakfast. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel holds on tight to its breakfast. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Kestrel in flight

I love these little falcons – if only they were a bit more cooperative when it came to taking their picture. I did “cheat” a bit to get this nice shot of one.

This particular kestrel is named Ajax and is a captive bird owned by Nature’s Educators. It was at one time a falconry bird but was found to be blind in one eye and not suitable for hunting. Since it can’t hunt, it cannot survive on its own and now does outreach programs with the non-profit group.

Here it seen on one of a few flybys it did during a recent photo shoot event I attended.

While they are North America’s smallest falcon, don’t let their small size fool you. American Kestrels are very effective predators and just as vicious as any raptor.

A male American Kestrel takes to the skies. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel takes to the skies. (© Tony’s Takes)

Handsome American Kestrel poses in the morning light

A pretty common raptor here in Colorado and North America’s smallest falcon. This American Kestrel is named Ajax and is a captive bird owned by Nature’s Educators. It was at one time a falconry bird but was found to be blind in one eye and not suitable for hunting. Since it can’t hunt, it cannot survive on its own and now does outreach programs with the non-profit group.

Don’t let this little guy’s size fool you though. American Kestrels are very effective predators and just as vicious as any raptor.

Taken with my Canon USA 7D Mark II and new Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 G2. I am absolute ecstatic with the detail this lens provides.

Image available for purchase here.

An American Kestrel perches on a tree branch. (© Tony’s Takes)

An American Kestrel perches on a tree branch. (© Tony’s Takes)

Male American Kestrel hops into the skies

These little falcons are very cool – but also quite skittish. It takes a lot of patience to get pics of them and even then, they don’t make it easy. I happened across this handsome guy on Friday and he soon showed his distaste for having his picture taken. Thankfully I managed this capture just as he departed for the camera-free zone.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor.

A male American Kestrel hops into the skies over the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel hops into the skies over the Colorado plains. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Kestrel takes a sideways flight path

These little falcons aren’t usually too inclined to sit still for pictures and this female was no exception. I saw her perched and no sooner did I get my camera up to my eye than she bolted off. Thankfully I was able to grab a couple of parting shots including this one as she took off sideways.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor. Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

A female American Kestrel demonstrates sideways flight.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A female American Kestrel demonstrates sideways flight. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Kestrel enjoys lunch on the Great Plains

I happened to spot this guy just as he landed on a utility wire with his meal. Much to my pleasure, he didn’t mind me taking pictures while he ate. A great time for me and the Kestrel but probably not so much so for the mouse. 😉

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor.

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A male American Kestrel keeps watch with a mouse hanging out of its mouth. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel keeps watch with a mouse hanging out of its mouth. (© Tony’s Takes)

American Kestrel shows off for the camera

These are such cool little raptors – and beautiful. Males like this one in particular are quite colorful and handsome. This guy was hanging out on a utility wire, as they often do, keeping watch on a nearby field for a meal. He wouldn’t cooperate for any flights shots but did pose for a brief bit.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective #predator and just as vicious as any raptor. Taken in Adams County, Colorado.

A male American Kestrel perches on a wire.  (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel perches on a wire. (© Tony’s Takes)

Female American Kestrel catches her dinner

One for #TBT going to December 9, 2015. I happened across this pretty lady just as she landed on a utility wire with her mouse meal. Unfortunately she opted to dine in private but it was fun seeing the whole predator / prey thing.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor.

A female American Kestrel shows off the mouse she had caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female American Kestrel shows off the mouse she had caught. (© Tony’s Takes)

Female American Kestrel takes flight

With a snowstorm quickly approaching, I knew I wouldn’t have much chance for picture taking this weekend so yesterday I made a quick tour along one of my favorite raptor routes. The clouds were already arriving and lighting was tough but I knew I would not be happy if I didn’t at least get a few pictures.

Among the cooperative subjects was this pretty little falcon. She didn’t want to sit and pose but did give me a few nice flight shots. With the tough lighting, I overexposed the image a bit and increased the highlights creating a ‘high key’ effect with the light background. Otherwise it would have been a very dull gray.

I’ll be going stir crazy today and likely tomorrow too as this storm works its way through. I would have much preferred it hit during the week when I am at work and couldn’t be out taking pictures anyway. 😉

A female American Kestrel flies with ease in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A female American Kestrel flies with ease in Adams County, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

Watchful little falcon

I happened across this male American Kestrel and its mate yesterday. They clearly weren’t bothered by me and in fact seemed more curious about me than anything.

These birds are the smallest falcon in North America averaging about 8 inches long. Don’t let their size fool you though. They are as much of an effective predator and just as vicious as any raptor.

Taken in Broomfield, Colorado.

A male American Kestrel keeps watch in Broomfield, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)

A male American Kestrel keeps watch in Broomfield, Colorado. (© Tony’s Takes)