Since I do get questions time to time on my bird photos - yes, those kestrels are falconry birds. Falconry is training and hunting with a wild raptor. All three of those kestrels were wild-caught by me and trained to fly free but return to me for food, as well as to allow me to hunt with them.

Amelia was my first kestrel. She was a very unusual bird, in that she had some sort of genetic anomaly that made her feathers look very pale. I only had her for a month, unfortunately, before she took off while we were hunting grasshoppers, and I was unable to recover her.

Penelope was my second kestrel, caught shortly after I lost Amelia. Penny, as I called her, shows more standard female kestrel coloration, with copper and black barring on her back and wings. I had her for six months, in which time she caught several insects and a frog. I released her in the spring so that she could migrate and perhaps start a nest. I have since returned to the field I released her in and have seen kestrels there, but I have no way of knowing if she was one of them.

Napoleon is my current kestrel. As you can see from the photo, males have slate-blue wings and orange chests, unlike the streaky copper females. I caught him in the fall, and since then have been exercising him around the house and catching bugs. Today he caught his first bird, a sparrow. I look forward to more successful hunting with him, and hopefully I will be able to release him in the spring like I did with Penelope.