General Discussion : Kestrel claimed the box but no eggs

Hi experts,

We placed a box on a berm within our property around April 2016. There was never any activity until this year, around April 2017. We have seen a pair of kestrel claimed the box and live in it. But when we peek inside, there isn't any egg. We observed a third Kestrel nearby, but they don't seem to fight. The pair that live inside the box are courting for the past few weeks.


a. Is it possible the kestrel just claim the box without necessarily laying eggs? If they do lay eggs wouldn't that be too late in May?

b. We live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Will Kestrel live all year round inside the box?

c. When kestrel lay eggs, how do they protect the nest? Because we have a lot of magpies, turkey vultures, and starlings all around.

Thank you very much!


Delorahilleary's picture

Hello! Great questions!

1. Kestrels often do a few weeks of courtship before laying eggs. It would be a late start for them now, but it's not too late yet. I would continue to keep an eye on their behavior to see what happens - pairs do not typically stay together if nothing comes of it.

2. Indeed! It is likely that there are different kestrels roosting in the nest box in the off season than the ones who would breed in it, but we have definitely observed kestrels using nest boxes all year round. They are territorial if they are just using it as a roost, however - we have observed male and female kestrels fighting over a box for roosting.

3. Kestrels will dive-bomb creatures they percieve are predators near the nest. They are quite aggressive and nimble little defenders! I myself have been dive-bombed by angry kestrel females. The nestlings and eggs are also protected by virtue of being in a cavity - a three-inch diameter entrance is just big enough for a kestrel to fit, but too small for predators like magpies to fit.

Feel free to ask additional questions! I hope this is helpful.

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Posted in General Discussion by fqz585 11 months 1 week ago.