Sunday, October 9, 2011

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

A couple days ago now, my hubby and I were stuck in traffic on the FDR North after a satisfying shopping spree at the Commissary at Fort Hamilton.  We were creeping along, Wolfster was arguing with the sports announcer on the radio and I was staring at the gangly vegetation struggling to grow through the fumes. 

As I mused about what the FDR would look like if humans suddenly disappeared, a Mourning dove sized bird sitting on the fence comes into view. I sit up, excited to see something living. I love Mourning doves, their elegant tail feathers and mournful call, but what was it doing so close to cars? As we get closer, it becomes very apparent that we are not dealing with a dove. Its little body is perched perfectly still and upright, a curved beak, dark lines framing its cheeks - its an American Kestrel. 

Oh my! I frantically searched for my cellphone to snap a picture of this miniature aerial predator but my giant pouch of a purse is toying with me. The American Kestrel, also referred to as Sparrow Hawk, is the smallest falcon in North America. I would regularly see them near the abandoned train yard just outside Montreal. They adapt quite well to an urban landscape, hunting small mammals and insects. 

The traffic picks up right as we pull up the the perched raptor and my cellphone still eludes me. Drats! I missed it. The only picture I will have of this NYC Kestrel is the one etched in my mind.

At least I know they are there, I'll be ready next time.

Take care!


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