American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

 American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park, California. December 2015. Not baited. Not called in.

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park, California. December 2015. Not baited. Not called in.

Walking around the lake at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park during my Christmas trip to California looking for birds (obviously :)), I noticed a Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) hovering above the lake. So I pointed at it with my camera, hoping it would come close so I could take a few shots filling the frame more. But suddenly this American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) arrived and the two birds of prey got in a short quarrel. On the following shot which documents this moment, you can actually see the amazing difference of size between this two fantastic raptors.

 American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) and Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park, California. December 2015. Not baited. Not called in.

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) and Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park, California. December 2015. Not baited. Not called in.

The American Kestrel has a wingspan of 20 to 24 inches (50-60cm), where the Red-tailed Hawk has a wingspan of 43 to 57 inches (110-145cm)! I have realized that many people I talk to think of Kestrels as big birds of prey, but they are among the smallest raptors. I was really glad to live this moment and see an American Kestrel for the first time.

Love Nature.
Jonathan