Male American Kestrel Eating A Grasshopper

This little falcon was a picky eater.

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed him ten days ago in the favorite fishing tree of the Belted Kingfisher I spent so much time with recently. I’m fairly certain this is the same bird I posted four days ago in my “Serendipity Happens” post. He landed with the grasshopper fairly high up in the tree so the angle is a little steep but at least up there I had very few twigs cluttering up the photos (though I did remove a small portion of a single out of focus twig in each of these images).

Because of the large branch in front of the tail and the steep angle I consider these to be only documentary shots but I like the series because of the interesting behaviors.

 

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 500, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This was actually the first shot I got of him after he landed.

 

 

A huge crop of the same photo (5% of the original image) implies that he may have already bitten the grasshopper’s head off when he landed there.

 

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 320, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

This guy didn’t like grasshopper wings so he…

 

 

1/4000, f/6.3, ISO 320, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

discarded them with a flip of his head.

 

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 320, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

And he did the same thing with the legs.

 

 

1/3200, f/6.3, ISO 320, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

But he sure seemed to enjoy the rest of his Orthopteran meal.

 

 

1/5000, f/6.3, ISO 320, Canon 7D Mark II, Canon EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM + EF 1.4 III Extender, not baited, set up or called in

When he was through eating he only gave me a few moments for some after dinner photos and then he was gone.

Kestrels usually swallow small insects whole but they often discard legs and wings of larger insect prey like grasshoppers. In my experience they also typically reject the intestines of small mammal prey like voles.

I don’t blame them one bit.

Ron

 

 

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