We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The rather common American Kestrel - I still call them Sparrow Hawks - is our smallest raptor (size of an American Robin) and, when seen in the right light, our most colorful.
They are falcons, prey on insects, especially grasshoppers, small mammals, and small birds. Occasionally they can be seen in fields hunting from a hover but, more commonly, perched on the wires or branches from which they pounce.
Because of their preference for open spaces, their numbers decline where agriculture gives way to woodland. Their Eastern US population is down, probably due to the decline of farming in the Northeast.
They breed in nest holes, and move south from their northern ranges in the winter, making them "semi-migratory."
I worked as a dog trainer for a guy many years ago. he caught one that flew into a post and injured itself. kept it in a cage for a week. would put a quail in the cage for it to eat. someone reported him to dnr who came and took the critter for rehab. told him he was lucky they did not fine him for keeping a raptor without the proper permits.
Where I grew up in South Carolina, people mostly called them Sparrow Hawks, but some people called them "Billy Hawks". I have no idea why, and for whatever reason after the first time I heard somebody call one that, that's what I always think of them as.
Here in the central Willamette Valley of Oregon, these birds are a very common sight. I also prefer the moniker "sparrow hawk". I would say that they are seen much more frequently hovering than perching here. They seem to prefer the large open fields of grass seed that blanket the valley.