Nov 192012

(Falco sparverius) The American Kestrel is the smallest and most numerous of the North American Falcon.  All of our kestrels have different stories to tell but all agree they were handled by humans, making them imprinted.  The are great ambassadors in our “Zoo to You” program.


What does the American kestrel eat?

Kestrels feed mainly on crickets, grasshoppers, mice, voles, lizards, snakes, and small birds.


How long do they live?

The average age of American kestrels in the wild is thought to be slightly under 3 years. The oldest recorded kestrel in the wild was 11 years and 7 months old. In captivity American kestrels have lived up to 17 years.


How many American kestrels can be born at a time?

Females lay 4 – 6 eggs.


Where are they found?

Kestrels can live as far north as the Arctic Circle (Alaska and Northern Canada), as far south as Tierra del Fuego in South America, and almost everywhere in between. They are also found in parts of the West Indies, on Guadeloupe Island in Mexico, and the Juan Fernandez Islands off the coast of Chile.


Interesting facts:

• The American kestrel is the smallest and most numerous of the North American falcons.

• Kestrels can actually hover up to 300 feet above the ground while looking for prey.

• There is a color difference between the sexes. The male kestrel has blue on its wings, while the female is mostly brown.


American Kestrals at the Zoo

Slater – came to us in 2007. He was found in the wild and was obviously an imprinted bird so he could not be released. We received him as an adult and have no idea how old he is.

Captain Jack Sparrow – came to us in 2010 from a rehabilitator. He only has one eye, so he could not be released back to the wild because he was not able to hunt and catch food.

Fawkes – was found in the wild and came to us in 2010 as a youngster. He was imprinted and could not be released. Fawkes is used for our educational programs because he is quite a star! He feels very comfortable around people and is a definite show-off.