There are a number of reasons why I decided to take on this project. My first reason has to do with my interest in birds. This began shortly after moving to Victoria ten and a half years ago. With our house backing onto a wooded area, the chirping of birds is a familiar sound all year long. I often glance out the window to see birds of all forms in the yard throughout the day. Frequently I will pull out the Birds of Victoria or Birds of North America reference guides we have on hand. Unfortunately, the drawings in the first aren’t overly helpful for identification and the number of entries in the second is overwhelming. My second reason has to do with a photography course I took a number of years ago. Since that time I have been trying to think of a practical reason to buy a new camera. Taking pictures of birds requires a powerful zoom lens which my previous point-and-shoot camera could not accommodate. Perfect! My final reason was my desire to take on a new project to welcome in 2011. Hence, bird of the day was born.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

Very small falcon
Long tail
Long, narrow, pointed wings
White head with bluish-gray crown
Two distinct black facial stripes
Red-brown nap and back
Two black spots on each side of nape
   Red-brown patch on crown  
   Red-brown breast 
   Red-brown tail with black tip
   Blue-gray wings with black spots
   Pale belly with black spots
Female: (not photographed)
   Red-brown wings
   Back and wing barred with black
   Red-brown tail with multiple dark bands
   Pale buff breast streaked with brown

Listen to its call.

While driving down Welch Road this morning, I saw this bird perched in the top of a tree by the side of the road. Initially, I thought it was a Mourning Dove due to its size and shape. However, as soon as it took off, I realized my mistake.

It seemed to hover gracefully in the air, almost like a toy kite. Apparently, it manages to stay in place by flapping its wings and adjusting its long tail.  

Learn more about the American Kestrel.

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