Monday 1 August 2016

The Kestrel

Today GB and I went to a falconry centre in Chester where we saw the falconer, Sophie Pegg, fly a vulture, a kestrel and a barn owl.   This is a female kestrel.

The common kestrel (Falco tinnunculus) is a bird of prey species belonging to the kestrel group of the falcon family Falconidae. It is also known as the European kestrel, Eurasian kestrel, or Old World kestrel. In Britain, where no other kestrel species occurs, it is generally just called "the kestrel".  This species occurs over a large range. It is widespread in Europe, Asia, and Africa, as well as occasionally reaching the east coast of North America.

When hunting, the common kestrel characteristically hovers about 10–20 m (33–66 ft) above the ground, searching for prey, either by flying into the wind or by soaring using ridge lift. Like most birds of prey, common kestrels have keen eyesight enabling them to spot small prey from a distance. Once prey is sighted, the bird makes a short, steep dive toward the target. It can often be found hunting along the sides of roads and motorways. It is able to see near ultraviolet light, allowing it to detect the urine trails around rodent burrows as they shine in an ultraviolet colour in the sunlight.

Why land on the glove when Sophie's head gives a better view?

The male is a lot more colourful.  The lifespan from death from old age can be 16 years or more, however; one was recorded to have lived almost 24 years.

This one as photographed at Pickerings Pasture on the edge of the Mersey about twenty years ago.

And I photographed this one in the wild in St Helens seven years ago.


  1. Such lovely birds! The are fascinating to train and watch.

  2. I speak to several Kestrels every day at work! Of course they're pilots for Thomas Cook Airlines, which uses "Kestrel" as their callsign... not actual birds.

    As for the birds... the males may have more colors, but the girls GOT STYLE FOR MILES! *wink*

  3. They're beautiful! I love birds.

  4. I love to watch a good raptor show. Good pictures!

  5. They are wonderful little birds. Nothing here but Buzzards.

  6. Got a chance a few years ago to take a course in falconry and it was wonderful.

  7. So great to see you posting again. What lovely photos. In fact, I loved all three posts from Wales. One question: does anyone know why Stanley changed his name? I always wonder if people who do that are on the run from the law or something!! (I think I read too many mystery novels!) xoxox

  8. Wow, John! These photos are fabulous! I had no idea you were Graham's brother until he posted a link to your blog!

    1. Hi Liz. To have you say the photos are good is especially pleasing knowing how brilliant yours are!


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