Photo: Ron Zigler

resident raptors

The American Kestrel belongs to the family of birds known as falcons, and is the smallest and most colorful American raptor. Kestrels will hunt small mammals as well as toads and lizards—they need to supplement their diets with these small mammals during the winter months when insects are not available. On occasion, they may take a small bird if the opportunity presents itself.

Kestrels build their nests in cavities—usually trees hollowed out by woodpeckers or other birds—but adapt well to man-made nest boxes like those installed at many of our preserves. Though the most abundant falcon in North American, their numbers are in decline as nesting habitat is lost to development.