Located throughtout the city, resident populations of North American Kestrels are poorly understood. Frequently referred to as "the commonest falcon in North America" kestrel numbers are actually in steep decline due to habitat loss. As a result, a collection of birders from around Manhattan have joined forces to try to put these beautiful and secretive creatures on the map. The first phase of this project is to locate the winter populations of these amazing animals and to observe their hunting and roosting behavior. The second part of this survey would then take place in the spring to confirm if these residents are year round or if there is another population that returns for the nesting season. Two of the easiest locations for me to observe these behaviors are downtown on Lafayette St. (near work) and uptown on 152nd (near home). Here's the downtown female laying in wait, camoflauged by the wood grain of this water tower!
As a hapless group of sparrows flew by, she launched directly at them!
With effortless grace she plucked one from the air and returned to the perch. This mockingbird was none-too-pleased!
Afterwards, she flew to a ledge where there appears to be a double scrape. Both here,
Meanwhile uptown, this male kestrel was hunting in the fading fall light.
He dove from his perch and plucked a sparrow from the air in an incredible hairpin maneuver!
He then proceeded to devour the bird voraciously!
If you have any interest in observing kestrels in your area, email me at yojimbot(at)gmail(dot)com. Also, weather permitting, Im planning a Harlem Bird Walk on the weekend of November 25th or 26th for anyone "leftover" from the Holiday.