Visitor in Helotes Tx

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Ken&Sheryle - TX
Posts: 649
Joined: Fri Jan 02, 2004 2:21 pm
Location: Helotes/Texas

I had a visitor today, not the kind I wanted but a visitor just the same. I believe it's a sharpie. Any input on this will be appreciated. The houses have only been up for two days now, this little guy works fast. I have decoys on a perch about 10 feet away; they probably attracted my visitor being that we have no birds living in the houses. I am trying to teach the hawks that my yard is not a food source with the decoys before the Martins arrive in about 2 weeks. I hope it works.
God Bless
Sheryle
Martin's Rule!!!!!!!!!
Michael Sanford ~ OK
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 9:00 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Edmond

That's a kestrel Sheryle. I see a lot of those around here in Oklahoma this time of year.
MICHAEL C. SANFORD
EDMOND, OK
Michael Sanford ~ OK
Posts: 233
Joined: Tue Apr 06, 2004 9:00 pm
Location: Oklahoma/Edmond

Sheryle, this is from enature.com:

"Unlike larger falcons, the "Sparrow Hawk" has adapted to humans and nests even in our largest cities, where it preys chiefly on House Sparrows. In the countryside it takes insects, small birds, and rodents, capturing its prey on the ground rather than in midair like other falcons...."
MICHAEL C. SANFORD
EDMOND, OK
Louise Chambers
Site Admin
Posts: 6208
Joined: Tue Nov 04, 2003 1:07 pm
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

And it's a male, the more colorful of the sexes as with martins. Kestrels overwinter in TX in large numbers, but at least here in Corpus, they will leave soon and nest in cavities further north. Kestrels are the most colorful and smallest of the falcons found in US & Canada.

Kestrels eat mostly insects, plus snakes, lizards, rodents and occasionally small birds. I really wouldn't worry about it being at your place. He may be using the martin house as a hunting perch.

Kestrels will use nest boxes and have also suffered some from starlings taking over cavities. Of course, unlike martins, sometimes kestrels eat the starlings :roll: Nice photos!

Louise :wink:
Scully
Posts: 2008
Joined: Mon Jan 26, 2004 5:35 pm
Location: Texas/San Antonio

Yepper, that little guy (nice pic!) is probably more of a threat to a house sparrow than a martin.

I have been seeing kestrels forced to hunt in unusual places this winter, dry as it has been.

Mike Scully
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

We often see Kestrals up our way too Sheryl. And as Louise mentioned, occasionally they use the perch on the top of our martin house. I was worried about that last year but they did seem to disappear about the time the martins started showing up. They are very pretty birds and are welcome to as many House Sparrows or Starlings they want :-).
Sharon
Guest

Sheryle, you had me about to panic there, when I read your post about the visitor,,,whew,,,,glad it wasn't a martin, since my housing isn't ready, I was about to panic,,,hehehheeeee

He sure is handsome though. Wish he would stop by over here. He would have a very easy dinner with the sparrow problem I'm having this year.

Sounds like Sunday is going to be beautiful, should be able to complete my projects & get the housing up.

I know you & Ken are as excited as I am about our first martin :grin: siting,,,,,,,, :grin:
Sharon - Central TX
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2004 9:20 pm
Location: So. Central TX
Martin Colony History: All Troyer Horizontal Gourds with Conley Entrances
PMCA Member since 2004

Angela,
Can't believe you're not ready yet :-). Did you say you are having sparrow problems? More than usual? We haven't seen many YET. I'm sure once the martins start showing up the bad birds will too.
Hopefully tomorrow will be a nice day to work on martin housing. I'm glad for this rain, but it sort of spoiled our plans today. But we need the rain more than we need to work on our martin house since they aren't here yet. Are you getting rain down your way?
We've had a beautiful Kestral hanging around. Too bad you can't get up to see him. Of course if you made a special trip up, he probably wouldn't be here!
Sharon
Guest

Has anyone ever had Sparrow Hawks nest at their place? During the summer, there are a couple that stay along the hiway by my house. I'm sure the PMs wouldn't care for them around their houses.
There is also a pair of Red Tail Hawks at one of the parks I work at. He solved the rodent problem we HAD!! Both are awesom birds in there own way.

Chuck C
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