A young American Kestrel was delivered to us nearly two weeks ago from Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks warden Derek Schott, and we hope to have him "hacked out" tomorrow. This youngster still had some growing to do, and at first was housed in our 10 foot building, later in the rehab enclosure. Fortunately, he ate mice on his own without a problem, and is wild as a March hare with no problem of imprinting, or getting too used to people. This photo was a tough one to get as he flew around the building to rest for just 10 seconds in the sun. Tomorrow, he'll have the screen on his feeding shelf removed and away he can go, and hopefully return for more feedings. Either way, we have never seen grasshopper numbers like this, with millions in the fields at the Raptor Ranch. So we'll hope that he figures out how to catch this easy, high calorie prey, and that he hangs out for a while. Gotta love a Kestrel.
UPDATE 7/31 - It worked and he sailed away towards the Bitterroot River!
UPDATE 8/27 - I just saw a male kestrel perched on the roof over the window of that rehab building, and he flew around the yard when I approached. Him? Hope so!