Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The American Kestrel and Raptors in New Jersey

American Kestrel - male

The Bald EaglePeregrine FalconOsprey, and the American Kestrel are some of New Jersey's raptors. Commonly referred to as "birds of prey," this group includes hawks, owls, eagles, falcons and vultures.

Raptors have fascinated people for thousands of years and were once the birds kept by British royalty and used i both ceremonies and for hunting.

After some frightening declines in some of our largest species, raptors represent some of New Jersey's greatest wildlife success stories. The bald eagle, osprey and peregrine falcon have made impressive comebacks from the brink of extinction, in large part thanks to the efforts of division biologists.

Unfortunately, not all species of raptors are thriving - the American kestrel, for instance, has experienced a sharp decline in recent years, and the work of biologists in the Endangered and Nongame Species Program continues.


American Kestrel - female
This once-common inhabitant of fallow fields and pastures has declined in recent years, and the reasons are largely unknown. In February, 2012, the American kestrel became listed as a State Threatened species. 

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