The Eagle, er American Kestrel, Has Landed

I hope everyone has been enjoying the recent posts Anne has done about several individual raptor species—it’s easy to tell she enjoys working with these amazing animals!

I thought we’d start off the new year, however, with something a little different—an introduction. We’d like you all to meet “Salem.”

Our latest educator - "Salem" a male American Kestrel.

Our latest educator: “Salem,” a male American kestrel.

Salem is the newest avian ambassador for the Greater Yellowstone Raptor Experience! This is very exciting for us for a couple of reasons:

  1. Our state permits have been amended to allow us to have more than five birds. This is important because more birds mean less work for those we have. Salem will now share “falcon duties” with Hayabusa so she can have some extra days off.
  2. We are now able to show our audiences that falcons, like all raptors, come in different sizes. While Hayabusa weighs around two pounds (peregrines being one of the larger falcon species in the world), Salem weighs in at a whopping 4.6 ounces!! That’s with his equipment on!

Like all of the birds at the Center of the West, Salem is with us because he cannot survive on his own in the wild. In July this handsome little fellow was found along a road near Salem, Utah (hence his name). Not only was he found nearly starved, but he had suffered severe trauma to his right eye. Because of the trauma, he has lost vision in that eye, making it impossible for him to be returned to the wild.

Salem, shortly after arriving at his new home.

Salem, shortly after arriving at his new home.

The American kestrel is the smallest falcon species found in North America, typically weighing three to six ounces—that’s less than a roll of pennies! They primarily hunt small mammals, insects, and some small birds, particularly in fields and meadows. They are extremely common throughout the country and are often spotted on power lines and fence posts throughout Wyoming.

Male American Kestrel that just left his perch on a power line.

A male American kestrel that just left his perch on a power line.

Salem has already begun joining the other birds for our educational programs at the Center and is a huge hit with the crowds. Be sure to swing by and meet him the next time you’re in!


  1. Anne Hay says

    As you know I LOVE falcons! And Salem seems like such a wonderful little fellow! I can hardly wait to have him on my glove.

  2. says

    Nicely done, Melissa! Congrats for getting the state to change their permitting scheme and for obtaining this little gem, Salem. You should be extremely proud of the program you're developing at the museum.