Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kestrel Update

There is very little detailed data out there on the behavior of nesting American Kestrels. A lot of general facts but it doesn't seem to answer my questions about this pair I'm observing. Up until last Friday I had been observing them in the tree at work during the day. Sometimes one or both them would show up and often eat a mouse there.

Since this is my first encounter with the Sparrow Hawk as it is called I did not know what to expect. According to Cornell Lab 'All About Birds'

It is the most colorful raptor in the world. Nests in cavities of trees, buildings and nest boxes. Sprays feces around nest. 4-5 eggs.. nestlings helpless when born.

Nesting time is Late April to early May. The female will then incubate the eggs for around 30 days, while the male hunts for the family. The young fledge 30 days after hatching, but will remain part of the family unit for quite some time.

Having said all that ... I am reporting what I am observing.

Fred, the Male Kestrel
sits on the highest point....seen here on a pipe on top of a
building near the nest.

Sometimes when he was sitting and watching...I can
assume she is in the nest , he would scratch and make
funny faces which was entertaining.

Other nights he would fly from one place to another.
This perch had added 'greenry' to compliment
his beautiful colors.

My friend commented he looked like a parakeet in this photo.

But... all that sitting and watching and waiting changed last
Friday evening. When I came out from work I could hear the
loud klee klee klee of an excited Kestrel. I could not stay
and search the tree for the sounds as I had an appointment to keep.
I did go back up on the week end but saw and heard nothing.
The tree and nest sight were as quiet as a tomb. No activity.
I assumed the young fledged and I missed it.
Or, they had abandoned the nest for some reason.
I have no idea what all the fuss was about on Friday.
Then...... tonight I thought I heard the familiar call once again
right after work so I stationed myself under the nest
sight and immediately he came looking agitated.
click for a closer view.

He sat for only a moment and was gone.

About 25 minutes later Ethel showed up with what looks
like a cicada.

She looked around very quickly...

All this took about 3 seconds

Then in she went... if you click you can just see her tail.
Then out she flew.

They are not calling to each other now....... they are all
about going in and coming out. Intent upon the job of feeding
I am guessing. Another 30 minutes pass and they both fly
in ...I only got him.

But a second later he disappears into the nest and she flies out.

It is no wonder I didn't see anything the last few times I
looked. I hope this means there are babies...
Stay tuned..
To God be the Glory ~ Great Things He Hath done.


Abraham Lincoln said...

I must say, in all honesty, that if one or a pair of them showed up here I would totally drop my camera when my jaw dropped. I thought I was having a stroke the first time I saw a young Coopers Hawk land here on my board fence and got over it in three years but it is still a thrill to see them.

As a matter of fact I get that way, including wobbly knees, when I see a new bird of any kind.

Your photographs of these birds are just perfect.

Sandpiper said...

Oh wow! You've outdone yourself with this series of pictures! You're so lucky, Jalynn! Thanks for sharing these wonderful pix.

jalynn01 said...

Thank you Abe, you are too kind! I know what you mean when you see a new bird....I get so excited and nervous afraid I won't get the 'shot' quick enough... I guess us old birders are all alike.

And Thank YOU Sandpiper as well.

Bird Girl said...

I am so happy Fred & Ethel are back in action and have displayed "feeding the kids' behavior!!! I'm dreaming about little kestrel heads peeking out of their crazy city nest! Great pictures and I really enjoyed the commentary as well!

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