Kestrel Nesting-Diary 2018
The niche was cleaned and the camera adjusted a little differently. The couple of kestrels was already close to the tower, but they don't come back regularly yet. As soon as there are news, we will report here again on a daily basis.
In the short term, a pair of pigeons tried to occupy the niche, but has not been seen for some time.
This morning, the Kestrel-Terzel came over to see the lively hustle and bustle around the church tower. The jackdaws have been quite active for a few days now.
In the past few days, Mrs kestrel and Terzel could be seen several times a day near the church tower, mostly at their favourite spot in a nearby barn. Reason for the presence are probably the increasing activities of the jackdaws (altogether 11), who are also looking for nesting places, it is available at the moment only one in the former barn owl box, which was already equipped with branches.
In the last two weeks the weather was cool and unstable, therefore there were only occasional meetings at
the church tower. The jackdaws are constantly on the spot, it was brought also nesting material into the niche already, because
it is missing at breeding opportunities. The owl box was already taken likewise.
Today we could hear the kestrel couple's mating calls for the first time and watch the following mating.
The jackdaws have not given up yet, the niche is well filled with branches, however the kestrel are often present during the day and it looks quite likely that they keep the upper hand. The technical difficulties we had in the last few days due to the Unitymedia-work have now been solved and the live camera is back online.
This morning the 1st egg was laid, according to our calculation now every second day another egg follows until the?
As suspected, a new egg followed every other day, this morning there were already 4 in total. In the afternoon the terzel sits in the niche and warms the clutch.
Since yesterday the clutch is incubated and/or warmed by both birds. Another fifth egg was laid this morning.
We received a mail from the circle of co-observers that there is a 6th egg in the niche. It is difficult to recognize at the moment, because Mr and Mrs Falke take turns and the clutch is covered. Thank you for that information, Mrs Gregori.
Today the first chick has hatched! Thanks for the E-mail from Ms Berchtold, she must have been the first having seen it.
This morning another two chicks hatched and even a third joined later the day. Now they are already four in total.
This morning the fifth chicken has been observed and two spectators have informed us. Thanks a lot.
This morning finally also the sixth chicken has been observed. Again we have been supported by two spectators who have informed us. Thanks a lot. It is not too easy to distinguish between the single ones and to count them.
The first hatchling is already 9 days old, you can clearly see the difference in size to the latecomer. All kinds of food are fed, mice, lizards and unfortunately also smaller birds, the terzel brings the prey and hands it over either outside the niche or brings it to the entrance. The female kestrel crushes them and assigns them to the chicks. Afterwards, the chicks' plumage is cleaned thoroughly.
Today we unfortunately have to report one dead chicken. No reason is known to us. Maybe one of the attentive observers can give us a hint.
The first hatched chick is already 2 weeks old, unfortunately we have the impression that the parents are not
seen very often. We now receive several inquiries from concerned observers as to whether sufficient food is being fed. Unfortunately,
we can only comment on it from the outside, there can be many reasons for this. It is assumed that 2018 will not be a good "mouse
year" in the southwest; this is also shown by the prey that is brought. Today even grasshoppers were fed. The terzel, which is
currently not visible in the niche, is still nearby, probably it also brings prey and places them outside, where they are then
taken over by the kestrel mother. It can be seen and heard conspicuously often at the window above the niche.
Yesterday there was a conspicuous shouting above the church, because a pair of red kites had approached, which also circled over the tower for a longer time. Immediately both kestrels were in the air and attacked the kites violently, until they left.
However, the food is no longer distributed by the mother, but only placed in the entrance and the two younger ones are at a decisive disadvantage.
Update 18:00: Unfortunately two more chicks died within a very short time. We have decided to give exceptional help about supplementary feeding, which was also accepted by the falcon mother.
Please keep your fingers crossed that it works!
The three remaining young kestrels need additional help from experts and will therefore have to be replaced for a
short time outside the niche. However, the plan is to reunite them with their parents soon, as reintroduction to the wild by humans is very difficult.
The three young kestrels have been treated and fed professionally for one day. Today at noon they have been put back into their niche.
Now we wait for the parents who have to take over the feeding-process again.
The parents have found their kids quickly and do feed them already. The menu today is mouse. It has been laid down as a whole and afterwards fed to the chicks in pieces.
It seems that the crisis is over. It looks as if the supply of the young falcons has improved, mice are brought
again and again. However, the prey is usually no longer cut up, but only delivered. As a result, there are always small quarrels,
but this is probably part of the education.
One can now also observe very clearly how the down-dress slowly develops into a brownish plumage.
This morning there was great excitement for a while due to a 3rd kestrel, who stayed close to the church for a long time and repeatedly circled the surrounding area and came very close to the niche. There was a lot of screaming, even from the younger ones, who didn't know what to think of the whole thing. Some aerial battles were observed, unfortunately we do not know whether the troublemaker was permanently driven out.
One has the impression that not much is fed, but nevertheless the little ones become bigger and stronger.
The plumage becomes increasingly brown and they move ever closer forward, in order to observe the happening in the church-yard.
We expect a first outing in the middle to the end of next week.
With the 3rd male kestrel, who likes to stay at the tower especially in the early morning, we assume a young bird of the last year, however, which is attacked again and again by the kestrel-parents.
The young kestrels are now almost 4 weeks old, you can also see it from the outside. Today at noon there were a lot of flying exercises in the niche.
In the afternoon there were more mice than kestrel to see, but they don't really know what to do with the prey.
Early this morning, one of the young ones flew out. We haven't seen him yet. Above the church-tower the "defense of the airspace" takes place again. All magpies, pigeons, the foreign terce and a red kite have already been successfully dispelled by the falcon's parents. The two remaining young kestrels are now practicing flying in the niche. From time to time, they also help themselves from the "store of mice". Yesterday evening we counted about twelve, and the number still increases.
Today it is quite hot again and in the early evening all 3 lie rather flat in the niche. Kestrel No. 1, who flew out yesterday, came to feed in the afternoon, he had also spent the past night with his siblings again. The other two do not yet look very determined to leave the niche, but they do flight exercises again and again.
This morning the second youngster was missing. He has left the niche quite early and rests in the tree adjacent to the bell-tower. Later we've seen him on the 'storks-nest' where the food had been deposited by the tercel. About noon-time the last one left the niche. Probably they will join all together for the night.
The young kestrels spend most of their time on the church roof and on the trees next door, the food is deposited
here by their parents. The night is also usually spent here, with the exception of the night before last, where all three were
in the alcove probably because of the rain.
For 4 months we now had the opportunity to observe the kestrels, later together with their offspring. It was again very exciting, with a laughing and a crying eye we say goodbye to the spectators here and thank them for their interest. We hope that the 3 remaining young kestrels will overcome the next hurdles and have a long life. Now they will learn everything important from their parents for about 4 weeks and then look for a new territory.
We send a big thank you and greetings to Mr. Boll in Pforzheim.
Here is a short update. We see the young kestrels from time to time around the church tower, also residents
have told us that they sometimes are quite noisy, apparently they still feed occasionally.
The terzel, which in our opinion is a young bird from the previous year, regularly visits the niche and can usually be observed there via the camera in the early morning or in the afternoon. Usually he cleans himself or takes a short nap. At night he sleeps outside, which is understandable in the current heat.