American Kestrel

1/250s at f8.0, ISO:1250, Canon Mark IV 1D w/800mm, x1.4 coverter

The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America. They are widely distributed across the Americas. Their breeding range extends from central and western Alaska across northern Canada to Nova Scotia, and south throughout North America, into central Mexico, the Baja, and the Caribbean. They are local breeders in Central America and are widely distributed throughout South America. Most of the birds breeding in Canada and the northern United States migrate south in the winter, although some males stay as year-round residents. In summer, kestrels feed largely on grasshoppers, dragonflies, lizards, mice, and voles. They will also eat other small birds. Wintering birds feed primarily on rodents and birds. American Kestrels form pairs in which the bond is strong, tending toward permanence. Returning migrants commonly re-establish territories held the previous year. Courtship begins shortly after the male establishes a territory. Both sexes take turns incubating their eggs, a very rare situation among North American birds of prey where the female usually incubates exclusively. There are from three to seven eggs per clutch; hatch 29 to 31 days after being laid. The young fledge in 30 to 31 days.
St. Vrain State Park, Colorado