|The American kestrel is suffering a precipitous decline in Massachusetts, according to a Mass Audubon report. (Joanne Rathe/Globe Staff)|
By David Abel | Globe Staff | September 19, 2011
The melancholy whistling of the yellow-bellied eastern meadowlark had long been heard in hay fields and salt marshes throughout Massachusetts. The American kestrel, the continent's smallest falcon, thrived in local grasslands, hunting for grasshoppers, mice, and other prey in the state's once-abundant farms. And the red-eyed eastern towhee long warbled in wooded areas while noisily raking the brush-covered grounds to forage for insects.