The American Kestrel is Pacific Northwest’s smallest falcon, it is also, one of the most beautiful falcons. Not only is it beautiful, but it is also one of the fastest falcons of all the falcons that live or visit our coast.
We see them almost daily here on Vancouver Island and they can be seen on most parts of the coast. They are fascinating to watch as they hunt for small mammals like mice and shrews, sometimes they will hover over a field for a few minutes before diving to capture a mouse or other rodent, then they return to their perch to eat. Look for them on power poles, towers and at the top of trees at the edge of open fields.
The males slate-blue head and wings complement the reddish back and tail, he has dark markings on his light brown chest. The female has no blue on her wings and very light brown markings on her almost white chest with much more red on her head. Both have black and white markings on the face and the female has black bars on her back and her tail. They bob their tails when they are perched.
They can reach up to 30 cm in height and are about the size of a blue jay. They are very vocal as they fly and can be heard crying out killy killy. They are usually found in partly open country like forest edges or farmland and can be seen roadside sitting on telephone poles and trees. We used to only see them on the south coast, but we are now seeing them over all the pacific northwest. They are such a wonder to observe as they go about hunting.