A male kestrel from yesterday morning and another one from almost exactly two years ago (1/27/22).

 

1/4000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon R5, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

Yesterday morning I found this banded male American Kestrel on a traffic sign on Antelope Island. Despite the unappealing perch, I took quite a few photos of him in hopes of being able to read his band numbers/letters well enough to report them to the Bird Banding Lab. But while he was in this spot his lower belly feathers always hid the top half of the green band and some of the information I needed to read.

 

 

1/5000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon R5, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

After a while an approaching car spooked him off the sign but he landed on another nearby sign that was just as unappealing as the previous one. And while he was here I couldn’t read his entire band either.

However, while he was on the first sign…

 

 

1/5000, f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon R5, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

another vehicle startled him enough to make him jump and reveal two things that I didn’t realize until I arrived home and looked at my photos on my big screen. In this one shot only, I could read the entire green band on his left leg and see that he was also banded on his right leg with a smaller metal band.

 

 

I didn’t have enough depth of field to get the metal band sharp enough to read its numbers but I figured the info on the green band, plus the fact that there was a metal band on the other leg, would probably be enough for the bird to be positively identified.

Around here, most banded kestrels have been banded by HawkWatch International so late yesterday afternoon I sent two of my photos of the kestrel to my friend Nikki Wayment, Executive Director of HWI. She sent them to Jesse Watson, Research Biologist and Banding Coordinator for HWI.

So now I’m waiting to hear back from Jesse. If this bird wasn’t banded by HWI, I’ll send the photos to the Bird Banding Lab.

 

Before I found this bird yesterday, it was my intention to post a couple of older kestrel flight shots to my blog today. Since those older photos are also of a kestrel, I decided to follow through with my original plan.

 

 

1/5000, f/8, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

It’s unusual for me to get quality flight shots of kestrels and I’d never posted these two before so I couldn’t resist posting them today. I found this guy hovering over potential prey at Farmington Bay WMA and he was actually in pretty good light, which in my experience is unusual for hovering kestrels.

He’s slightly past me but in my judgment that perfect head turn made the photo a pretty darn good one instead of just another mediocre one.

 

 

1/5000, f/8, ISO 640, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM + 1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

Five frames in the burst later I got another photo I like even better because in this shot his right wing is extended even more vertically. When this happens, and the light-colored underside of the wing is facing the sun as it is here, that wing is often (usually?) overexposed. But this time I got lucky with the exposure, probably because the sun was at an oblique angle to the wing’s underside.

If and when I hear back from Jesse or the Bird Banding Lab, I’ll let readers know what I find out about yesterday’s kestrel. They should be able to tell me who banded the bird, when and where he was banded and possibly his age. I always like finding stuff like that out.

Ron

 

Autor Ron Dudley

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