A Mercantile Nature Moment: Falco Sparverius

Fig. 1 : "Falco Sparverius" considers his next move

It was a rainy Friday here in Cincinnati, and I gazed out at the golden arches of the big Mac bridge thinking I sure am glad I’m not one of those drivers driving suicidally in these conditions–why do they do that?  Do they think by putting the “pedal to the metal” that the weekend will  arrive more quickly?  And in terms of the anticipating a weekend, doesn’t the cliché “better to arrive late than never” apply?  Wait, what’s that weird bird doing on that antenna? I went to get Norm’s dad’s binoculars, which Norm keeps in the Mercantile kitchen to keep an eye on the construction of the Great American building, and confirmed my suspicion: there, preening water from its soaked wings, sat an American Kestrel (Falco Sparverius), aka “Kitty Hawk” or “Sparrow Hawk”, the smallest falcon in North America.  Our volunteer that day, code named “Magdela Tall”, by far the sternest and most-feared member of our volunteer pool (it’s rumored she can extract a library fine from even the most recalcitrant of truant borrowers without so much as breaking a sweat), also witnessed the moist raptor which perched for some while, disappeared, and reappeared.  I tried to take its picture (see figs. 2 & 3), but the Library’s camera hasn’t got a particularly robust zoom.

Fig. 2 : Perhaps lured by the prospect of easy money, an American Kestrel cools his heels on a Federal Reserve antenna

Ms Tall suddenly spied a second falcon jockeying for position on the perch like a drunken sailor attempting to gain the mizzen mast in lurching seas.  It settled for a lower antenna near which, suddenly, a third appeared.  The birds goofed around like some tribe of wingéd, intoxicated vikings, cocking their heads comically, dancing from foot to foot, and attempting to wring out their plumage–in short driving terror into the non-existent hearts of the non-existent inhabitants of the Federal Reserve building’s roof before putting out, once again, to “sea”.  -Ed Scripsi

Figure 3 -- a besotted Kestrel takes wing

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Published in: on July 10, 2010 at 1:36 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Do the last two pieces mean that we are to be spared “bicycling” for a while?

  2. Thanks for reminding us we’re getting off topic. Mission creep is a terrible thing.

  3. I love it that you found kestrels! Now I want to come on over and look through your nature books. Except I’m kind of two time zones away….

    Oh well.

  4. I’m pretty sure they have even larger raptors where you are, if you are where I think you are.

  5. Occasionally I see Red Tailed Hawks soaring above OTR. Not a raptor, but I also see Canadian Geese moving very fast across OTR but there are no ponds to entice them down. I often see the shredded carcases of sparrows and starlings on the sidewalks begging the question of the cause of their demise.


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