Stella is an adult female American Kestrel, the smallest of the falcon species. She weighs about 5.0 oz., has a wingspan of 21”-23″.
American Kestrels are the most common, smallest, and most widespread members of the falcon family in North America. Kestrels use cavities for nesting, either natural or man-made. They rely on old woodpecker holes, natural tree hollows, rock crevices, and nooks in buildings and other human-built structures (nesting boxes). Kestrel nesting boxes can be made and placed along wooded edges or open country. They will raise 4-5 young that are incubated for 30 days and fledge a month later. Kestrels may produce 1-2 clutches a year.
Kestrels can commonly be seen perched on telephone wires or fence posts throughout the spring and summer months in Montana. Watch for them hunting (hovering) during the day in open fields with short ground vegetation. Typically Kestrels eat insects and other invertebrates as well as small rodents and birds. Kestrels can see ultraviolet light. This enables them to make out the trails of urine that voles, a common prey mammal, leave as they run along the ground. Like neon diner signs, these bright paths may highlight the way to a meal.