I just happened to look out the bedroom window and noticed a very large red bird atop our spruce tree, looking rather like a Christmas tree topper. I ran for the camera, field glasses and Petersen's Guide and finally determined that we were being visited by an American Kestrel. I was very excited to learn more about this "new bird" and when I couldn't find much about their habit and behaviors in the guide or online, I went upstairs for our other three bird books. The Aububon Backyard Birdwatcher told me that "Kestrels eat mainly large insects, rodents, small reptiles, and frogs, but they also take small birds." It's when I read in the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds, Western Region, that it "has adapted to humans and nests even in our largest cities, where it preys chiefly on house sparrows" that I realized that this was no social call.
It's a flying cat! Happily, our songbirds had flown the coop, so to speak, and after a couple of hours, the Kestrel did as well.
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