American Kestrel, female..February 2016
This species is another victim of the uniquely north american custom of calling all diurnal birds of prey 'hawks.' This bird is a falcon -the smallest in north america. It is known as a falcon by its pointed wings, long tail, and strong, rapid wing-beats. at close range the falcons are also characterized by a singular tooth-and-notch arrangement in the bill.
This falcon lives for the most part on large insects. In addition to insects, its diet consists of the very smallest mammals, reptiles and amphibians, with some smaller birds included. The size of the falcon (about that of a blue-jay)
limits its feathered prey to the small end of the scale.