Kestrel Nesting-Diary 2019
The Terzel, probably a young bird from 2017, visited the niche in the church tower for a long time in the
old year to rest there or to clean himself. Since a few days there is increased activity of the jackdaws around the tower,
they meet there regularly in smaller troops. Today we had decided to clean the nesting places in the tower, in the owl box
we found 6 not hatched eggs, possibly from jackdaws (length 35 mm)?
Opposite we heard excited hawks screaming soon after opening the window, as last year our action was noticed very fast and two hawks positioned themselves in the trees next door. Later we had the first quarrels between Terzel and a jackdaw. Both kestrel were sitting next to each other above the niche and had a lot to tell (Valentine's Day!).
Daily, mostly in the morning for some hours the falcons come to the church and show the doves and the jackdaws who is in charge. They usually chase the other birds around the tower several times as soon as they approach the niche. There are clearly fewer pigeons to be seen in the area, of course the jackdaws are not permanently deterred to inspect the niche once in a while. We are curious when the first branches will be brought.
This morning the first egg has been laid. Since a couple of days the niche has already been kept occupied. The next egg will normally be added within two more days.
Late today (9:35 pm) the second egg has been laid. Mrs kestrel seems to be in a hurry.
The third egg has been laid around 3:00pm today. She left directly after in order to get some food.
This afternoon (4 pm) the forth egg already has been laid.
This morning (9:35 am) the fifth egg has been laid, one every second day.
This morning now the fifth and hopefully last egg has been laid. According to all assessible reports there should not be any further egg this year. The formal breeding process now can begin.
Unexpectedly today a seventh egg has been laid. We have been made aware of it by a continuous viewer. Thank you from house to house Karin. Why so many eggs are laid this year we have to look after. Hopefully now it has come to an end, as probably there will not be enough food for all the chicks and so a few will have no chance to survive.
Mrs. kestrel breeds almost without interruption on her eggs, she seldom leaves the niche to eat food, which
the Terzel seems to deposit outside. In the meantime, the nest is warmed by the terzel.
Kestrels breed for about 30 days, so hatching of the chicks is not expected before the end of May. After that the young falcons spend another month in the nest, in this case in the niche.
Mrs. kestrel sits most of the time on her seven eggs, today she gave us a short glimpse of the clutch in the early evening. All eggs seem to be intact. We are very curious how many chicks will hatch this year.
The first two chicks have hatched. While the kestrel-mother sits continuously on the clutch we have been made aware
of the hatching by a number of spectators until we have seen it ourselves. Now the next will maybe not last long.
And this afternoon a third chick hatched. The picture shows some details
As expected the fourth chick hatched this morning. Again it has been seen by attentive observers giving us a phonecall. Thanks for this "service".
Late today we have been made aware of the fifth chick having hatched. Whenever the pic of it arrives here, we will post it here. Thanks for the info.
Update of the last days, we were out of town, but were regularly informed by several falcon friends, thank you very much! The 5 chicks were cared for by the mother for a long time with only few interruptions, the Terzel brings food and the remaining 2 eggs are no longer noticed in the meantime. The little ones lie mostly in a corner and warm themselves mutually, with few exceptions the food is still distributed fairly by the mother. But one can already observe that one or the other dares to go further forward and snatches the food away from the others. Here one notices the different ages of the young. But up to now the stragglers could keep up, that looks actually all quite good. Even the flapping of the wings is tried from time to time.
The spectators should not be surprised to see that the falcon parents are only in the niche for a relatively short time during the day, mostly only to hand over food. Today we watched the church tower from the outside for a relatively long time, Mama Falcon sits mostly above the niche, while Terzel hunts the prey.
Also this afternoon, there was a lot going on in the niche, plumage care is being done diligently, even with the youngest the brown plumage of the young falcons shows up already now. One dares to venture further and further forward to have a look into the churchyard.
Unfortunately we have no internet connection since four days and the LiveCam is cut therefore too. We do
hope sincerely that this can be fixed within the next one or two days, so that we do not miss the departure of the young kestrels.
This we expect end of this week.
Watching the niche from the churchgarden at least 3 youngsters can be seen, who slip to the front slowly. The parents seldom show up with food, but thats normal. Also the current heat probably leads to reduced activity.
The falcon camera is online again, the technical problems are finally solved. The view into the niche shows
5 young kestrels, which almost show the feathers of the adults. The prey is only deposited at the front entrance, the flight
exercises often start at the back of the window on the preferred stone, which probably guarantees an elevated position. In
addition, the plumage is cultivated diligently.
Since there will be a big anniversary party (probably with a lot of noise) in the centre of Ellmendingen at the weekend, we assume that the exit will be delayed a bit, but you can be wrong. We will observe it!
This morning, three of the young falcons flew out. They sit mostly in the tree opposite, tonight it gets very loud again because of the street festival, then the worst is overcome. We hope they stay up.
It'll be very hot again today. In the morning there were again 3 falcons in the niche, but this changes
onstantly, they are more often flying from the tree to the niche, that works better and better. One is already on smaller
rounds in the area, two do not dare to leave the niche yet. We hope they will find the connection soon. The Terzel sat early
in the morning on a roof and watched the flight attempts. This all looks very pleasing, but there is a small drop of melancholy:
We haven't seen the mother falcon well over a week, the food is only put into the niche by the Terzel, fortunately the young
falcons already cut it up themselves. The Terzel has provided the youngsters with exemplary food so far, he defends the airspace
against kites and buzzards and is apparently always nearby at night.
If our suspicion is confirmed and the mother had an accident, he still has a lot to do. Now you can see very clearly on the photos that he has a bigger injury on his eye, possibly from a fight. Apparently he does not have any restrictions because we have been observing this for quite some time.
The photos were all taken yesterday and today in the surroundings of the church. Fortunately the churchyard is still closed, s o that no disturbances are possible.
This morning also the last two falcons had flown out, but the niche was occupied by up to 3 birds during the
day, also the food was partly delivered there.
The falcon's mother was fortunately seen again yesterday, but apparently she had been very irritated by the noise of the 3-day street party. In the evening she flew very energetically back and forth in front of the niche and apparently showed her displeasure that the falcon children didn't want to go out at all.
We were able to take some pictures of the young falcons today, soon we will close this diary and only report in case something unusual should happen. We would like to thank our readers and spectators for their interest and say goodbye until next year.
Antje and Roland