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Sunday, October 11, 2020

American Kestrel hunting!


American Kestrel male
American Bittern

American Kestrels hunt from our birdhouses in our now mowed Bobolink field here in NH. Here's a male kestrel yesterday flying up to land on a house after getting perhaps a cricket. The field is habitat for so many birds and critters. In spring Meadowlarks stop by on migration, Tree Swallows arrive in March and claim nest boxes and sometimes bluebirds can score a box. The big thrill is when the Bobolinks arrive to breed in early May. Savannah Sparrows sometimes breed in the grasses and we used to have American Bitterns nest in the field. In summer the grasses, wildflowers and weed seeds feed goldfinches, Song and Chipping Sparrows and more. The Bobolinks stay all summer, raising their young and leave in late summer. In August we have a big Common Nighthawk migration fly by and the nighthawks can be seen swooping over the field catching flying insects. In late summer or early fall the field is mowed. It is amazing who then uses the birdhouses to hunt from including Eastern Phoebes, American Kestrels, a Red-tailed Hawk, imm. and also the bluebirds. Crows and Wild Turkeys patrol the mowed field finding food. Northern Harriers stop by the field and edge of the pond to look for voles and prey. In winter the bluebirds may roost in the birdhouses and also look for any insects who emerge in a warm nook. Foxes and Coyotes leave tracks in the snow as they hunt for voles. Endless dragonflies, butterflies and other insects and spiders use the grasses and flowers to feed and hunt. It is a spectacular habitat year round and we manage it to be so.

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