The American Kestrel is the smallest bird in the Falcon family and is also the most familiar and widespread in North America. They perch high along a treeline or often on a roadside wire and with their excellent vision wait to pounce on any one of a wide variety of prey including grasshoppers, mice, lizards, frogs, beetles and caterpillars. If there's not a suitable perch, the Kestrel can easily hover over an open area and swoop down for a catch.

Kestrels nest in cavities and in areas where declining numbers have been observed, nest box programs have helped their populations. Snags, dead trees that are left for habitat, are important to the Kestrel as Snags are often the favorites of woodpeckers who can create many cavities suitable for a Kestrel on just one tree alone.

In South Florida, the Kestrel is very seasonal and are much awaited by yours truly. There are 3-4 Kestrels every year here at the club perching along the thick fairway-side tree lines ready to grab any prey that wanders out into the open turf areas. Many of us have seen the hunt as the agile Kestrel shows it's Falcon skills. We've observed that often if you see one at a certain place at a certain time, a return trip will prove to see it again, which makes for great tour and viewing opportunities throughout the season for our members and guests alike.

Kestrels are great to observe from a distance with a good scope or binoculars. Don't get too greedy though, they scare off quite easily. I say this from a lot of experience with the camera and having still not gotten that great shot I'm looking for of this beautiful little bird.

Keep your eyes out for the Kestrel. It's surely among my favorites!