Friday, January 23, 2009

New bird!

To me, that is. Yesterday, I caught wind of a bird I've never seen before spotted on campus. Naturally, I grabbed my binoculars and dragged my good friend and colleague Chris with me, since he's much better at bird spotting than I am :) The bird we were looking for is an American Kestrel:

Cute, huh? Don't be fooled. This guy can rip small birds and other creatures to shreds in mid-air. Kestrels are actually in the falcon family, and are skilled hunters. But I admit, I find the picture very cute too :) Anyway, we head out there, and catch a fleeting glimpse of a female Kestrel scaring the absolute living daylights out of a flock of pigeons. I actually once saw a pigeon meet an unfortunate end at the claws of a Cooper's Hawk:

Just consider the Cooper's Hawk the larger cousin of our Kestrel. These are formidable birds of prey. Any pigeon just hangin' out on campus is in danger of being someone's next meal all.the.time. Plus, let's face it, pigeons aren't very bright. They coo right along until a dark shadow appears atop their heads. Anyway, I digress. We briefly spot the Kestrel, but by time we turn around (we had to drive; our campus is so ridiculously laid out) Miss Kestrel was no where to be found. Naturally. It's like they know I'm looking for them.

Later, I'm exiting campus, heading home. Up on a lamp post, Miss Kestrel is casually hanging out, waiting for some pigeons to cluelessly happen by. I nearly drove my car into a snow bank trying to get a closer look. She was quite dainty; you know, for a raptor. Very small for a falcon. But lovely. And scary looking, to be sure. I enjoy looking for her now each time I drive past that area of campus on my way home. Even birds of prey are my friends :)

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