False eyes

7-27-16 Aldo at Lakewoods.jpg

Sometimes even a kestrel needs time to relax after a busy day of work. Aldo had the opportunity to enjoy the view of Lake Namakagon after an outreach program at Lakewoods Resort this week.  As he watched boaters coming and going on the lake, I had a great view of the back of his head. In this photo, you can see the black spots on his nape. These “ocelli” are thought to act as false eyes. They might protect the kestrel from a predator like a Cooper’s or Red-tailed Hawk. The spots might also prevent angry songbirds from getting too close when trying to chase off a kestrel. In either case, they will wait to attack until they have the element of surprise. If the kestrel’s trick works, the attacker will choose to back down rather than risk getting tangled in the talons of the seemingly vigilant kestrel. The false eyes are a simple illusion that helps wild American Kestrels enjoy a nice view without worrying too much about predators.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s