Actually my good friend adopted a bird for the kindergarten class! Thank you Barb! This bird is an American Kestrel and it is a small falcon that is being cared for at "The Wildlife Center of Virginia". You can read more about this wonderful facility when you click here. This center cares for thousands of animals each year, including about two dozen permanent animal residents, which are now valuable, educational animals that cannot survive in the wild on their own.
Edie, the American Kestrel, was found as an orphan in Roanoke, Virginia, after her tree was damaged in a storm. She was kept by her rescuers for several days before being taken to a local widlife rehabilitator. During that time, she seemed to have imprinted on the people caring for her and due to behavioral changes she cannont be released back into the wild. We will keep tabs on Edie and check in on her now and then. Adopting an animal as a class, teaches students about animal behavior and teaches them empathy towards wild creatures.
American Kestrels are the smallest North American falcon. They were commonly called sparrow hawks. They are 8"-11" in length with a wingspan of 20"-24" and the only weigh 3.5 - 5 ounces. Their lifespan is 5 years in the wild. The kestrel's diet consists of small mammals, reptiles, songbirds, insects and other invertebrates.
We have American Kestrels in our area. I often see them sitting on highline wires or fence posts. I love to watch them hover over the ditch waiting to swoop down on their prey. They are very beautiful, little raptors and they are very fast fliers. People often ask me what my favorite bird is and I can't seem to answer that question because I like so many birds, but the American Kestrel is definitely in my top 10 of favorite birds!
For more on American Kestrels, read about them and hear their call at "All About Birds". Also, click here to watch this video on You Tube about Jet, the American Kestrel. It is very interesting and a bit funny too!
I came across an interesting side note. Did you know that many raptors are hit by cars? I found this information on the "Wildlife Center of Virgina" site. "Roadside litter attracts prey such as small mammals and rodents, which in turn attracts predators like the American Kestrel. A bird that is hunting is concentrating on catching food, not avoiding the oncoming cars. You can help by not throwing things out of your vehicle, even biodegradable apple cores or banana peels and teaching others to do the same." I'd say that is good to know!