Nestlings (fledglings) out of the box too early?

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Kestrel Friendly
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Nestlings (fledglings) out of the box too early?

Hi Matthew, 

Two of our male nestlings explored the world outside the box. Did they come out too early? 

Thanks. 
 

Shiela 

Image: 
Kestrel Friendly
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Two of them are possibly spending the night out of the box. Mama was calling for them but we only saw one so far. Hope they'll be ok. We took new photos of one of them. 

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matthewdanihel
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Hi Shiela -

It's a bit earlier than we would have anticipated, but to us those look like perfectly healthy fledglings ready to take on the world! It was 23 days from the time you first found nestlings in the box to the day the first nestling left the box, but since we don't know how old these nestlings were when you first found them they could have been several days older than that. Young American Kestrels typically leave the nest at 27-32 days old, so if these birds did leave earlier than that, it wasn't by much.

We certainly hope they'll be ok as well. Everything looks like it's happening as it should so far, but don't hesitate to reach out if things change.

A question for you - would you mind if we shared some of these photos to our social media pages? They're all great, but we absolutely adore the most recent shot you sent!

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew!

The two boys made it back to the box! Whew! But, 4 of them are now hanging out in different places on tree where the nest box is. The only one still inside is the youngest female but she is also starting to peek outside the door. The parents have been feeding them very well so maybe that's why they're maturing quicker? 
 

This project started out as a way for vole control but turned out to be so much more. Do we update our observations? 
 

We love that last photo too! He's so adorable! We'd be honored to have AKP share it. Please tag us, Tim & Shiela DeForest. We're both in Facebook, Timothy DeForest / Shiela DeForest.  My IG handles are @shiela_deforest or @mrsecointernational 

 

Our first female fledgling hung out on our neighbors' garage roof. She cute too and a bit darker than her mom. 
 

Thanks again!

Tim & Shiela 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

Hi Tim & Shiela -

We're thrilled to hear the tenants of your nest box have been doing so well! We'd love to have you submit additional observations if you're able to, at least until the final nestling leaves the nest and ideally until the family leaves the area. Especially with this family being a bit of an outlier in terms of how quickly the nestlings developed, any data you provide will be valuable.

We will most certainly give you credit on any photos we use and will tag you accordingly. The female "doing yoga" on your neighbor's roof might be our new favorite. We're always looking for photos to share, so if you get any other good ones feel free to post here or email them to us at kestrelpartnership@peregrinefund.org. Thank you so much!

We thank you again for your participation in the American Kestrel Partnership! Hopefully you'll have many more years with the Vole Control Patrol™ nesting in your yard :)

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew! 
 

We're happy that our tenants are happy too. Fingers crossed they'll be back next year. The parents have been feeding them outside the box too and the 4 birds flying from tree to tree. 
 

We're curious about our youngest nestling though.  Scott of CARRI said it's a female but it's been peeking out of the hole and we can see some gray/blue feathers under the fuzz.  Is it possible it's actually a male? 

It's cool you coined Vole Control Patrol.  Can we borrow it too? LOL 

Thanks. 

Shiela 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

We hesitate to say for sure based on one picture, but that's certainly looking like a male to us too. Are the sexes of the other four fledglings matching what they're supposed to be? i.e., there's no chance this is actually an older nestling and the youngest already fledged? If this is definitely the youngest, I would check back in with Scott so the banding data can be corrected.

And haha you're welcome to borrow "Vole Control Patrol." Just don't start selling overpriced t-shirts with that phrase on it ;)

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew!

The other fledglings match the sexes they were recorded except the youngest one. The youngest one is still in the box but he's leaning out even more. So, now we seem to have 4 males and a female. I guess, there's too much testosterone in the voles the parents ate. LOL.  I'll add pictures taken just this morning. Last photo is of the parents together. 

As for the shirt, you're giving us ideas. LOL! If we'll be allowed to and if we do sell, it'll be a fundraiser with part of the proceeds donated to back to AKP. 
 

Thanks. 

Shiela 
 

 

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Kestrel Friendly
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Good morning!
 

We just took a photo and the youngest is definitely a male! 

 

Shiela 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

We agree, that's a male! If you haven't already, please do send the photos to Scott so that he can update the data, or there are going to be some very confused scientists if this bird is resighted in the future.

We noticed something in your most recent observations - the only birds that should be reported in the "nestling" fields are those that are actually in the nest box. Fledglings that are still in the area would just be reported in the "notes" section. So for example, your most recent observation on 7/21 should be just 1 nestling, the youngest, with the notes edited to specify the other four birds have left the box but are still in the area.  Sorry if we confused you at all!

As for the t-shirts, we run an official t-shirt campaign every year and the 2020 edition is going to be rolling out in the next few weeks (shhh... we haven't officially announced it yet), so we wouldn't want to overlap with that. But if you come up with an awesome design and don't mind sharing it with us, we'd certainly consider it for future campaigns. We love working with creative-minded kestrel lovers, so whatever ideas you've got we'd love to see.

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew!

Scott said he'll update the banding record.  We updated our observations too. The fledglings are doing well and learning more things everyday.  Do CO kestrels migrate? We sure wish they'll stick around longer. 

 

We'll look out when the shirt sale drops! Does AKP have a pin? I put pins of cities I've visited or organizations I work with on my sash. 
 

Thanks! 

Shiela 
 

 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

American Kestrel fledglings typically remain in the same general area with their parents for a few weeks after leaving the nest, so you've got a little bit of time left before the kids from your nest box move on. The species is present year-round in Colorado, though this doesn't necessarily mean the birds from your box will be around all winter. Some kestrel breeding populations are completely non-migratory, while in other areas it is believed some or all of the breeding population heads south for the winter and is replaced by birds that spent the summer further north. Bands such as the ones Scott from CARRI put on the nestlings from your box are an invaluable tool as scientists try to determine these specific movement patterns, and we're very grateful for the "above-and-beyond" contribution you've made to kestrel research by having him out.

We don't have a pin at present, though that is something we've discussed producing in the future. If we do end up making one, you'll be the first to know! That's an awesome sash and we kinda feel left out...

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
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Hi Matthew, 

We're happy to be part of this conservation program and glad that Scott was able to come out to band our nestlings.  Do the fledglings return to the box at night?  Our birds seem to hang out more on our neighbors' roof or a tree by the field during the day. 
 

If AKP does come out with a pin, I'd love to add one to my growing collection. 
 

Beat regards, 

 

Shiela 

Image: 
matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

Hi Shiela -

Some nestlings do return to the nest box to roost at night. How long they'll do this for, and whether they do it at all, depends on the individual bird. It's also worth noting that on cold nights American Kestrels will also sometimes seek out a cavity or a nest box to roost in, so your box might have guests on a night-by-night basis this winter long after these youngsters have moved on.

Like most birds of prey, kestrels love to be up high, so it makes sense that these birds are spending so much time up on the roof and high in the trees. There's no better place to see what's going on in the world—especially for a young bird still learning what the world has to offer.

We'll do our best to come out with a pin before your sash fills up and there's no space for us :)

Matthew
AKP Staff

Kestrel Friendly
Kestrel Friendly's picture

Thanks so much for your patience with us. We're new feather surrogates. LOL! The fledglings are doing so well and we think the youngest is checking out his mom's favorite perch. But we saw something peculiar today. I think kestrel dad was trying to assert his territory today with a bigger bird? 
 

I'll make sure to make room for AKPs pin of course. With Covid19, my travels and in person activities have been stopped save for a few local cleanups. 
 

Shiela 

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Nu-Sun Cinema
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Hi Kestrel Friendly,

Looks like (Buteos jamaicensis)  Red-Tailed Hawk that Kestrel Dad was chasing from his domain. Photos are great !!

Nu-Sun Cinema  www.nu-sun.com

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Kestrel Friendly
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Thanks Nu-Sun...

matthewdanihel
matthewdanihel's picture

You and Nu-Sun are correct! American Kestrels will vigorously defend their territories from any interlopers, and the one pictured here is chasing off a red-tailed hawk that presumably got too close.

Matthew
AKP Staff