Common Kestrels

Common Kestrels, (coloured pencils), Paula Kuitenbrouwer
I have drawn a springbird scene, showing a female common kestrel, who has just landed on her old crow’s nest. She is inspecting her eggs. The male is relaxed and sits close to the nest. The male common kestrel has a blue-grey cap and blue-grey tail, whereas the head cap and tail of the female is brown.
Have you ever seen a common kestrel? You will be amazed how cute they look. It is the combination of their round little heads and their big, dark eyes that makes them look adorable. But are ‘cute’ and ‘adorable’ words we use to describe a bird of prey?
Common kestrels were hunting birds for royal ladies in medieval times. Kestrels were considered to be of little use for serious falconry, and that is because they weren’t thought of as fantastic hunters. Kestrels hunt exclusively for mouse-sized mammals, insects (like dragonflies), beetles or small reptiles.
High court ladies wouldn’t mind when their bird caught a dragonfly, a beetle or a vole. If a bird prefers to chase a dragonfly over a delicious rabbit, or catches a clumsy beetle instead of small, tasty bird, this allow us to describe kestrels as cute, and surely very cute by comparison to birds of prey that hunt for hares, pheasants or even apes.
Paula Kuitenbrouwer
The Netherlands


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