Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A sparrow-hawk? No, a beetle-hawk.
Two pellets (a.k.a. puke) freshly coughed up by American kestrels (they were still moist...note the ant). Also part of a dismembered iridescent beetle (a scarab?). All were found beneath favored kestrel feeding posts in an Ocean County (NJ) grassland. Almost all the kestrel pellets I've found so far this April have pieces of beetle shells in them. I think there are lots crawling out of the soft sandy soil -  maybe as hibernating adults, or maybe freshly-metamorphosed from wriggling, dung-fattened grubs. Some they are definitely catching on the ground, but I wonder if some of the aerial insect hawking I see them doing (way high up) is after these big and tasty slow-flying beasts. The pellets are about 1 inch long, for scale.

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