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American Kestrel   (Falco sparverius)

Description

  • Rusty tail and back
  • Females have rust colored wings, while males have slate-blue colored wings
  • 15 sub-species.

Size

  • Length: 9-12" (23-30 cm)
  • Wingspan: 21" (.5 m)

Range

  • Farmland, deserts, towns, cities, and open country
  • Close to the tree line in Alaska and Canada, south to Tierra del Fuego

Diet

  • Mostly insects and small rodents
  • Occasionally, especially during winter, small songbirds such as sparrows and starlings

Voice

  • "Klee-klee-klee-klee-klee-klee"

Nesting

  • Natural or man-made crevices such as abandoned woodpecker nests and bird houses
  • Lay 4-5 white eggs spotted brown
  • Eggs incubate for 29-30 days tended by both parents

 

 

 Merlin  (Falco columbarius)

Description

  • Slate or brown above, with a long banded tail, light and streaked below
  • No moustache markings unlike the other falcons

Size

  • Length: 10-14" (25-35 cm)
  • Wingspan: 23" (.6 m)

Range

  • Open woodlands and groves near coniferous forests
  • Alaska, Labrador south to Nova Scotia, Michigan and Orego
  • Winters in British Columbia and Newfoundland to Northern South America

Diet

  • Small birds
  • Occasionally, small rodents, insects and lizards

Voice

  • Usually silent
  • When nesting area is disturbed ,"Klee, Klee" similar to an American Kestrel

Nesting

  • Nest made of sticks or tree cavity or abandoned nest 15-35 ft above ground
  • Lay 4-5 pale rusty eggs with brown or purple spotting
  • Eggs incubate for 28-32 days
  • Fledgelings leave the nest at 25-30 days after hatching

 


 

 

Peregrine Falcon   (Falco peregrinus)

Description

  • Slate gray above and pale below with fine black bars and spots
  • Dominant black moustache markings
  • Immature are brown and darker below

Size

  • Length: 15-21" (38-53 cm)
  • Wingspan: 40" (1 m)

Range

 

  • Open country near water and in cities near buildings
  • Alaska and Greenland south to Georgia and Baja California
  • Winters north to British Columbia and Massachusetts

Diet

  • Mainly birds
  • Occasionally, rodents and insects

Voice

  • "Kack-kack-kack"
  • "Wee-chew, Wee-chew"

Nesting

  • Nest is a scrape with little lining on cliffs or building ledges
  • Lay 2-4 cream colored eggs with brown spots
  • Eggs incubate for 28 days
  • Fledgelings leave the nest at 5-6 weeks after hatching

 

 

Prairie Falcon  (Falco mexicanus)  

Description

  • Sandy brown and faintly barred above, cream and lightly streaked and spotted below
  • Dominant black moustache markings
  • Dark wing markings when viewed flying

Size

  • Length: 17-20"

Range

 

  • Dry plains and desert cliffs
  • Central British Columbia, northern Alberta and Saskatchewan and western North Dakota, south to Baja California, Mexico and to southern Arizona and New Mexico and northern Texas
  • Winters in Mexico

Diet

  • Small and medium-sized birds and mammals
  • Occasionally. lizards and large insects

Voice

  • "kik-kik-kik-kik-kik'"
  • Whining "kruk"

Nesting

  • Nest is a depression in soil or gravel, on a ledge, or in an abandoned nest of another
  • Lay 3-6 pinkish eggs spotted with brown and purple
  • Eggs incubate for 30 days
  • Fledgelings leave the nest at 40 days after hatching

 


 

 

Gyrfalcon   (Falco rusticolus)

Description

  • 3 color phases- white, black, and gray all streaked with black
  • No moustache or head markings unlike the other falcons

Size

  • Length: 22" (56 cm)
  • Wingspan: 48-63" (1.2-1.6 m)

Range

 

  • Arctic tundra and rock cliffs near water, coastal beaches and marshes
  • Alaska, Canada, and Greenland south to central Canada and Northern U.S.

Diet

  • Birds, especially arctic ptarmigan
  • Occasionally, large ducks and geese

Voice

  • "Ke-a, Ke-a, Ke-a"

Nesting

  • Rock ledge lined with sticks, grass, and moss
  • Lay 4 heavily spotted reddish-brown eggs
  • Eggs incubate for 4 weeks tended by the female
  • Fledgelings leave the nest at 7 weeks after hatching