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American Kestrel

The American Kestrel, a member of the Falcon family, is the smallest North American hawk. It has two distinct black facial stripes, rust-brown tail and back, slate-blue wings, black-spotted under parts. Kestrels eat bats, rodents, insects, frogs, small reptiles and birds. Alternates several rapid wing beats with glides, also hovers. Soars on thermals.

Range and Habitat

The American Kestrel breeds from Northwest Territories and Alaska east through Maritime Provinces and south throughout most of the continent. Usually winters north to British Columbia, Great Lakes, and New England. Preferred habitats include towns, cities, parks, farmlands, and open country.

American Kestrels are fairly numerous in all parts of Alabama in the winter but most of these head north in early spring for breeding. In south Alabama nesting kestrels are very rare. This was not always the case. Kestrels use cavities in trees and other natural structures for nesting and will also use a birdhouse. If you see kestrels in south Alabama in May or June please contact AWCA.


Eric Soehren (L) DCNR Biologist, AWCA President Charles Kennedy, and Bob Canter of the State Capitol Staff prepare to install Project Sparrow Hawk's first Kestrel House on the railing of the Capitol dome. Hopefully many additional houses will be installed in the future. To visit the Department of Conservation website to read about the "Capitol Kestrels" click here. Use your back button to return to this page.

Eric Soehren, Tommy Pratt, Charles Kennedy, and AWCA volunteers  on the Alabama State Capitol roof with Project Sparrow Hawk's first kestrel house.


Here's How You Can Help!

Help Us Locate Kestrels
Contact us for information on what we are looking for.
Make a Purchase from Our Nature Shop
We sell birdhouses so we can give birdhouses away.
Encourage Others To Join and Support Us
Tell your friends and neighbors about AWCA & our projects


And will you please consider this...

If you plan to make purchases at take a detour on your way to the Amazon Super Store to this page and visit Amazon by clicking the Amazon Logo below. Amazon will send us a percentage of the price of the items you purchase and this will be credited to our project fund.  Amazon offers a very complete selection of birding and nature books, binoculars, music, cameras, electronics and almost anything else you can think of. And if you've shopped at Amazon you already know the prices are very competitive. The prices won't be any higher if you use our link to visit Amazon but we won't benefit unless you come here first every time you go shopping at Amazon.