Sunday, June 14, 2009

The American Kestrel - Falcon of Many Names by Roland H Wauer

The American Kestrel - Falcon of Many Names by Roland H Wauer
103 pages, colour plates, maps.
Johnson Books ISBN-10: 1555663532

A close-up look at the American continent's smallest raptor. Adaptive and resourceful, the kestrel often lives in city parks and is frequently seen along highways, so much so that it has been called "America's roadside raptor." Contributing to its popularity is the kestrel's wide distribution-from treeline in northern Alaska to the very tip of South America.

The book begins with a complete description of the kestrel, including the fascinating eye spots on the back of the head, a trait unique among falcons. Wauer goes on to discuss the vocalizations of the kestrel-the "killy call," the "whine call," and the "chitter call"-and how the bird uses them to communicate. Using scientific research and easily understood interpretations, Wauer covers many topics, such as the falcon's keen eyesight; its amazing migration patterns; its eating habits; and its hunting styles. At the heart of the book is a complete natural history of Falco sparverius, including courtship routines, nesting, and the raising of young. The mixture of hard science and personal stories makes for compelling reading. The book ends with a discussion of the enemies and threats the American kestrel faces.

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