Kit and Laurin from Cascades Raptor Center were out last week to release some American Kestrels. The Kestrels are placed in a nesting box, and a mesh screen is taped over the door. In order to calm down and become acclimated to their new surroundings, the Kestrels stay in the box with the screen on for 2-3 hours. This drastically increases the chances that they will stay on the property and find their way back to the box when it is time to nest. After several hours the screen is removed with a quick tug of the attached rope, and the Kestrels are free to fly around and make themselves at home on our 1,033 acre certified organic estate amid the vineyards, oaks, and diverse habitat.
Watch the video to learn more, or visit the Raptor Program page.
The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius), sometimes colloquially known as the Sparrow Hawk, is a small falcon found in the Western Hemisphere. It is found in a variety of habitats throughout North and South America. At 19–21 centimetres (7–8 in) long, it is the smallest falcon in North America. It exhibits sexual dimorphism with size and plumage, although both genders have a rufous back with noticeable barring. Juveniles are similar to the adults.
The American Kestrel is not a true kestrel, its ancestors having split from those of the Common Kestrel and its relatives during the Late Miocene epoch. It hunts by hovering in the air with rapid wing beats or perching and scanning the ground for prey. Its diet typically consists of creatures such as grasshoppers, lizards, mice, and other small birds. it nests in cavities in trees, cliffs, buildings, and other structures. The female can lay 3-7 eggs, which both sexes help to incubate. It is a very common bird to be used in falconry.