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An unexpected visitor

January 18, 2014

Australian Kestrel - a long way away

Australian Kestrel – a long way away

My favourite group of birds is the raptors (birds that hunt or feed on other animals). It includes eagles, owls, kites and harriers. Unfortunately due to their finely tuned hunting senses, particularly sight, it is extremely difficult to get close enough to afford a good look. The best I can usually do is a grainy over-enlarged digital photo taken with a telephoto lens (see pictured left).

Birds, particularly raptors can ‘see’ things that are invisible to the human eye. The ability to see in the infrared means that birds such as eagles can see the thermals which they use to get lift in the air. Similarly, being able to see in the ultraviolet means that they can see the reflections of scent trails mammals (a.k.a. food) leave on the ground to navigate by.

Australian Kestrel - much closer

Nankeen Kestrel – much closer

Apart from Wedge-tailed Eagles (Aquila audax), which regularly soar up the valley, the most common raptor around our place is the Nankeen Kestrel (Falco cenchroides). It is often seen perched high in a dead tree surveying the surrounding paddocks or hovering in a stationary position before diving on some unsuspecting prey. Nankeen Kestrels are small falcons that feed mainly on small mammals, reptiles, birds and even insects.

Unexpectedly, a Nankeen Kestrel recently visited our bird bath (see photo right). The remote camera captured images so we could have a good look at the bird. It looks so close you can almost touch it (sort of like having front-row seats at a Justin Bieber concert – substitute your own music idol here).

And it’s another tick on the Birdbath visitors list.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2014 3:35 pm


    I’d just like to say how much I enjoy your all your posts. It’s a great way to get interesting info out into the world!


    Dr. Jen Wilson
    Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority
    Strategic Landscape Planner
    168 Welsford St. Shepparton
    PO Box 1752 Shepparton 3632
    ph: 03 5820 1115 fax: 03 5831 6254
    Mobile: 0459023690

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