This section is from the book "The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation", by George Abbey. Also available from Amazon: The Balance Of Nature And Modern Conditions Of Cultivation.
The Kestrel does a considerable amount of good by killing mice and voles, which form its chief food, and in consequence is of great service to the forester, farmer, and gardener. In a certain agricultural district bordering on moorland with extensive woods of mature growth and several young plantations, the gamekeeper - rearing thousands of pheasants annually, partridges, and grouse (on the moorland) plentiful, hares not scarce, and rabbits superabundant - averred that kestrels never interfered with either winged or ground game, and to his credit not one had been shot or captured in a hawk trap during his fifty years' experience on the estate. But may not kestrels acquire a taste for young game birds in localities where there exists high agricultural practice? This implies relative scarcity of mice and voles, and we have it on the authority of Messrs. Burgess & Co., Malvern Wells, that the kestrel will "take very young game, if easily obtainable, and when once it has visited the coops and found out the young birds, it seems to prefer them to anything else." Thus the interests of the forester, farmer, nurseryman, and gardener, here clash with full indulgence of the game-preserver's sporting tastes.