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(Falco sparverius). Patient Number 23-1470.
Date of admission: Aug 28, 2023.
Reason for admission: Feather and Patagium Damage.
The American Kestrel is a small yet vibrantly colored falcon found throughout North and South America. Adult males typically display a blue-gray head, wings, and tail, accompanied by a rusty-brown back. They feature a distinctive black vertical line on their face and white underparts adorned with black spots. Females share a similar coloration but with more extensive streaking on the underparts. Both sexes sport striking black markings on their faces, often referred to as 'mustache' marks.
American Kestrels demonstrate remarkable adaptability and can be spotted in various habitats, including grasslands, open fields, farmlands, deserts, and urban areas. They often perch on wires, poles, or tree branches, keenly scanning the ground for prey.
These falcons primarily sustain themselves on a diet of insects, small mammals, and small birds. They are agile hunters, hovering in the air (a behavior known as 'kiting') as they search for prey before swiftly diving to capture it. Their exceptional ability to catch insects mid-air is particularly notable. American Kestrels are opportunistic feeders and adjust their diet based on the availability of prey in their surroundings.
When it comes to nesting, American Kestrels usually select tree cavities, abandoned woodpecker holes, or nest boxes. They typically lay a clutch of eggs, usually around 4-5, and both the male and female share the responsibilities of incubation. After hatching, they continue to collaborate in raising their young by providing nourishment.
Regarding our female American Kestrel patient, she is recovering well during her time in care. She is a wildfire survivor but unfortunately did sustain burns to the majority of her primary wing and tail feathers, as well as patagial tears in both wings. The wing tears have shown improvement with frequent medication and bandage changes. However, we will continue to monitor her closely to track further healing and progress. Regrettably, the damage to her feathers may necessitate an annual feather molt before she can once again sustain flight.