The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is the smallest and most common of our falcons. It was formerly called the Sparrow Hawk, and has sometimes been known as the Killy Hawk because of its call, a high killy-killy-killy. It is found in all states, but spends only warmer months in northern states and Canada.
The kestrel feeds on large insects, for the most part, and small mice and voles. It occasionally will also catch and eat a small bird (chiefly the House Sparrow in urban areas) or a reptile. Unlike the other falcons, it captures its prey on the ground, rather than in the air. A kestrel may perch in a tree, watching for its prey, and then fly down and hover in the air directly over a grasshopper, waiting for the proper moment to seize it in its talons. Then it flies up to its perch to eat it. more...