Monday, January 8, 2018

Bat Falcon!

Bats! Fuck! What is the deal with bats???? Well, bats aren't exactly a scientific enigma, but I don't see a whole lot of them. I was birding the Los Capitancillos Ponds recently when a big bat flew by in broad daylight. It was a hoary bat, one of the big bat species found throughout the United States. They stay active throughout the winter in the southern part of their range (many other species hibernate). I'm not sure what this individual was up to exactly, but it's diurnal adventure suddenly veered toward disaster right in front of my eyes.

The local American Kestrel that has been wintering here decided that the bat was a prey item - it went in for the kill! I was shocked. Kestrels typically seem so focused on little things on the ground, not this sort of hairy flying thing.

I rarely see kestrels go after anything as big as a hoary, and as you can guess I'd never seen a kestrel go after a bat of any kind. Even a kestrel in frenzied aerial pursuit is rare to see, that's much more of a Merlin thing.

This wasn't a playful chase on the kestrel's part, it was definitely a concerted effort to take the bat down. Horrifying for the bat, no doubt, but awesome to watch!

The kestrel did make contact with the bat at one point, but the bat persevered and was able to escape with its life. Kestrels are known to prey on bats, but this is the first time I'd seen it. Good aerial drama at the local patch!


  1. Bats! Cool.

    We had them near our house when I was kid. I think they lived in the very tall pine trees that surrounded our property. (No caves that I knew of...)

    One time a bat got in the house. My Dad had to shoo it out with a broom and the screams of my mother.