Change in Kestrel behavior

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Kestrel Friendly
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Change in Kestrel behavior

We noticed that our kestrels have started to bring food into the nest box. Does this mean they might have nestlings already? We saw 4 eggs on May 27th via polecam.  We don't have a nest cam so we just observe from afar. 

Thanks in advance. 
 

Tim & Shiela 

 

matthewdanihel
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Hi Tim & Sheila -

If you're seeing both parents bring food to the nest box and not just the male, more than likely the nestlings have hatched. This would make sense, as we're now 28 days past your last nest check and the incubation period for American Kestrels is usually 27-31 days. Sounds like it's time to break out the pole cam for another check :)

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew! Thanks so much for you reply. We're pretty curious indeed if we have nestlings.  Will the parents be ok with a polecam? Thanks. 

matthewdanihel
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You can definitely go ahead and check the nest with your polecam. If both adults are out hunting and you're quick enough, they might not even know you were there. And even if they are present, a quick up-and-down check will be just fine. We typically recommend that box monitors check their boxes every two weeks if possible, as this is frequent enough to get good data on developments in the box but not so frequent it causes a stressful level of disturbance to the birds.

Looking forward to hearing what you find!

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew! We were able to take a peek (luckily, both parents were out of of the box) and saw nestlings!!!Sorry about the fuzzy photo but we think we saw 4 little ones and another egg.  Mama kestrel must've laid another one after we checked in May. Do you think that will still hatch? 
 

Thanks again! 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
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Here's a rotated and lightened photo... yep, looks like four nestlings and one egg to us too! It's certainly not impossible, but it seems doubtful to us that the final egg will hatch. The eggs all typically hatch within the same 24-48 hour period, but these youngsters look to be several days old already and there are no signs of hatching in the remaining egg.

Please sign on and enter this latest observation at https://kestrel.peregrinefund.org when you get the chance. Since all your nest information is already entered, it's a very quick process and shouldn't take you more than five minutes. Ideally we'd love for you to check the box again in two weeks.

Thanks so much for your participation in the American Kestrel Partnership! Enjoy your new neighbors :)

Matthew
AKP Staff

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Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew! We went in again when we saw both parents out of the box and took photos. We have 5 nestlings! Yey! We'll update our observation record. 
 

Can you refer anyone from CO who can help band these?

 

Thanks.

Tim & Shiela 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
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Yay! We're happy to have been proven wrong about that final egg. Thank you for uploading your observations.

For getting the nestlings banded, we would suggest you contact the Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute, or CARRI. They are based out of the Loveland area and do kestrel banding every year. Even if they're too far away from you, or don't have staff available to band your nestlings, they may be able to direct you to someone else locally who could.

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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We were equally surprised too. LOL! The parents are very busy hunting having 5 mouths to feed. 
 

We'll get in touch with CARRI. Thanks so much. 
 

Tim & Shiela 

matthewdanihel
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Our pleasure! Thank you for your participation in the project.

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matt! 

Scott of CARRI is coming over tomorrow to band the chicks. The youngest one seems fitting in fine with the brood. Thanks again for your help! 

Shiela 
Shiela 

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matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

Hi Sheila -

Your little family is getting big in a hurry! Awesome to see that they're all thriving, even the late arrival.

Great to hear you were able to link up with CARRI, and good luck with the banding today!

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew, 

The birds were banded yesterday by CARRI. It was an amazing experience and we learned a lot from Scott. He's such a talented artist too. We'll sure miss the nestlings when they fledge. 
 

Tim & Shiela 

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matthewdanihel
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Awesome, we're happy to hear things went well! It is a bittersweet time when the nestlings leave the box—it's awesome to see them growing up and thriving, but one does find themselves missing the little guys :) Hopefully you'll get to do it all again next year!

Matthew
AKP Staff

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