This educational female American Kestrel has always had a feisty falcon spirit. When she came into the RMRP in June 2004, she had a fractured right radius-ulna in her wing. Even after surgery, her wing did not heal in the proper position for her to be able to fly.
Each of the educational birds' enclosures is set up in respect to their original injury to make sure that they can easily move around. In the female educational kestrel's enclosure, she has a ramp that helps her get up to the taller perches, and a bunch of lower perches that she can easily hop up to.
When a volunteer enters her enclosure to bring her out for programs and exhibits, they have to be prepared to spend time encouraging her to come out. As a falcon, a naturally active bird, she is very active in her enclosure and can be seen rousing (fluffing her feathers - often a sign of contentment) as she gives the human working with her an extensive run- around. Once she decides to come out, she seems to enjoy the attention of her audience. She is often seen with poofed chin feathers and rouses frequently when she is amongst the public. She is very attentive to all her surroundings and seems to enjoy the activity. All of these are signs that she is content while educating the public about these amazing aerial predators.
How amazing, you ask? Well, in the wild, American Kestrels will often hover over the ground, spying potential food. As soon as they see their quarry, they dive on it. It takes a lot of wing strength and skill to hover over a fixed spot on the ground. In addition to the ability to hover, American Kestrels are able to see one particular wavelength of UV light. The same exact wavelength that happens to be reflected from the urine of mice. That ability is sort of like an ultraviolet arrow to their dinner. Pretty amazing!