Kestrel Nesting-Diary 2020
Today the Falcon Terzel was visiting the niche in the early morning. Probably the surroundings were inspected, at the moment there are no major activities, not even on the part of the jackdaws and doves.
Today we saw Mrs. Falcon sitting on her favourite place, on a beam of a shed near the church. Meanwhile Mr. Falcon sat on the tree opposite the tower and flew briefly to the niche to chase away the jackdaws sitting underneath. We could not yet find out if they are the same pair. The third from last year had a clear injury to his eye.
The two kestrels can be seen quite often, mostly in the morning and early evening. The courtship has already begun, this year it will take place from time to time in the niche, which is a real novelty. As in previous years, a second terzel is also involved, which observes the event from time to time with loud screaming. The jackdaws seem to be quite peaceful this year and the doves are currently gathering on the other side of the church tower.
In the last days the usual squatting takes place again. Because of the bad weather the kestrels were only
seldom on site and the jackdaws are now trying to conquer the coveted nesting place.
However, the impression via the camera is deceptive, the falcons are both near the church, let the jackdaws at the moment only grant. They carry now and then nesting material into the niche and the falcons sit next to it without intervening. We are very curious how long this will go well.
Today we had to fix a camera problem in the niche and at the same time we took the opportunity to "clean up"
the place. During the last days there were several fights in front of the church tower, as the Terzel now actively intervened in
the events and defended the nesting place. This was not to be expected differently, we hope that the jackdaws accept this,
however, it is also possible that in the next days again nesting material is brought in by them.
Jackdaws are really likeable birds, but like most ravens they are not very popular with people. Yet they are sociable and extremely intelligent, and they urgently need nesting places in our settlements. In the tower of the Barbara church, however, there are at least 1 - 2 possibilities for them, which, by the way, have already been occupied by other jackdaws.
Short update of the last days: We had some problems with the technology, which hopefully will be fixed after
Easter. This caused a temporary breakdown of the transmission. In the meantime the jackdaws have tried again and again to occupy
the niche and added many new branches.
We could observe from the churchyard also that there were some small quarrels between jackdaws and hawks, but the latter were only occasionally on the spot.
In the last two days, however, both the Terzel and the Falcon Lady, who otherwise always sat above the breeding niche, came into the niche more and more often, so that one can actually assume that they will not leave the niche. This afternoon both were there again, there was also a present from the Terzel in the form of a mouse, but Madame Falcon probably had no appetite, so that the Terzel disappeared again without further thought with its present.
The kestrels consistently guard the nesting place, we have not seen a jackdaw for several days. However, there have often been small disputes about the food in the niche, the terzel probably doesn't want to share. We are already very curious when the first egg will be laid.
Finally and a bit late the first egg has been laid around 10:30am. The terzel immediately started incubating it and the lady left. It is about one week later than usual, but we are happy to have been informed by one of our friendly spectators.
Today another egg has been laid at the late morning. Mr. Kestrel brought a mouse as a bounty.
Almost unseen the third egg has been laid today. It is always two days between the eggs.
Also today an egg has been laid. It is the forth and again in time.
Meanwhile the 4th egg was laid, both falcons warm the eggs alternately, it almost looks as if the laying of the eggs is finished, we are in for a surprise.
Friends informed us about the appearance of the fifth egg. Somewhere between noon and 4pm it appeared in the niche. As the lady now uses to sit on her eggs quite continously we had no information ourselves. Thanks to Bernhard in Forchtenberg.
Mrs. falcon broods and is also repeatedly replaced by the terzel, which warms the eggs in her absence. A couple of falcons usually stays together for a lifetime. The female lays 4-6 eggs between mid-April and mid-May and then incubates for about 30 days. After the young have hatched, they are fed for about 4 weeks. After they have left the nest, they are accompanied by their parents for another four weeks and continue to be fed. After that they have to find their own territory.
Already yesterday afternoon it was possible to see one broken eggshell. This morning we have been informed by Karin that already three chicks have hatched during the night. The pics show the change of "guards" between the parents. It'll stay interesting.
Yesterday four and this morning all five chicks showed themselves to the camera. Busy activities of him and her including feeding with a mouse can be seen. Hopefully everybody get enough. At least they are eager to get food.
After 2 days of continuous rain, during which the mother hardly left the niche, the small kestrels seem to be well. They are fed regularly and warmed up extensively immediately afterwards. Already now one can see differences in size, but the falcon's mother makes sure that the meals are fairly distributed.
During the last days, which were mostly rainy and a bit chilly, we could watch the young falcons growing. For all spectators who are worried because you see the Terzel so rarely: the feed delivery takes place outside the niche. The falcon's mother often leaves the niche during the day and waits for the prey on the spire or on one of the nearby trees. Here she has everything in view.
The days fly by, the little falcons are busy with plumage care, from time to time they also try
already simulated short flights. As usual, there are problems with the converted food supply, the food is currently no longer
reduced in size and therefore the mice and thus also the flies pile up.
So far, everything looks very good, an exit could take place at the beginning of July, we will let ourselves be surprised. At the moment the young venture further and further forward towards the edge of the niche.
The little hawks advance further and further, the fastest one catches the prey first, mostly he has to give it back again. But apparently, everybody gets enough. This afternoon the falcon's mother helped to cut up the mouse, the father only puts the food down at the entrance. We are very curious to see when the first one will dare to make the trip. The falcons from Dietlingen are already sitting on different roofs and doing flying exercises from house to house.
This morning the hawks were quite excited and did a lot of flying exercises, but again it went more towards
the top than towards the outside. At lunchtime we had another round of cuddling, but now more towards the exit. Actually, all 5
of them look very fit, but the youngest will certainly benefit from the extra days in the niche, especially since there is still
enough food. We could not observe any motivation-flights of the falcon parents outside, this will surely happen soon.
Addendum: At about 19:00 the first falcon has flown out. It sat for a long time on an unfavorable place on the church roof, but was immediately sighted by its parents and provided with prey. Later in the evening he dared some dangerous manoeuvres, but became more and more courageous and finally sat on the stork's nest, the Terzel was always close by. Shortly before nightfall he landed in a rain gutter where he probably spent the night.
This is really a fun group this year. Early in the morning No. 2 had flown out, he had landed safely on the
church roof, but apparently felt quite overwhelmed with the situation. He balanced on bars and in the rain gutters and
jumped back and forth. Unfortunately, there was also a quite strong wind in the afternoon, so that one had to fear that
he might fall down sometime. Meanwhile, No. 1 was already quite brave and flew back and forth between the tower and the
stork's nest several times, then landed on the roof of the rectory and even further away.
In the early evening one of the two excursionists somehow made it back to the niche and the supply of mice worked again, but in the evening there was a fight between the four of them.
Later the last, i.e. first young falcon came back into the niche and the family was complete again. Only 3 of the falcons had spent the night there, the other 2 had finally made it to the tree opposite.
Also this morning again a falcon had flown out and in the early evening the No. 4, but it returned a short time later. It was quite windy today and the excursions of the falcons were quite short, only one flew already quite large rounds over the church, was to be seen also already at the cross right at the top. The falcon parents were always relatively short on site today and brought mice, which were deposited either outside the church, but also in the niche.
Already in the early morning the last two were outside, even the corner seaters made it. We were in the
churchyard for the service this morning and could observe at least 3 of them, which were trying out flying exercises in the
still strong wind. Looks very dangerous, we hope they all make it. The young falcons will now be accompanied and fed by their
parents for about 4 weeks, after that they will have to find their own territory.
We would like to thank you very much for the many mails and phone calls. We were especially pleased about the interest of the children, of whom we got to know some on site. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us via the contact form on our homepage.
Our funny falcon family is still sitting on the church roof, but on the opposite side of the tower. Here one has furnished oneself apparently homely, mostly 3 of the young ones, sometimes 4 stay mainly there. The mice are served in a rain gutter and we are curious how long the falcon parents will continue to offer this service. Today it rained most of the time and a lot of feather care is visible. From time to time short round flights are made. Where the other two are staying, we do not know. But we suspect that they are travelling with the falcon mother.
Maybe one of the co-watchers saw it by chance: At about 10:30 p.m., a barn owl visited the falconry alcove.
In earlier years this species had been breeding annually in the tower of the Barbara church. For this purpose, in 1981 (!) the
NABU Pforzheim/Enzkreis installed an owl box in the bell tower, which was also used diligently. Since some time now the owls
had unfortunately disappeared, this was a really interesting sighting, which we could also capture with a photo. And maybe
someone was looking for a new or old nesting place? Barn owls brood up to 3 times a year under favourable conditions.
The falcons have all disappeared in the meantime.
Possibly the one or other co-observer has already noticed it: The falcon niche was occupied for some weeks with a scaffolding pole and a friendly greeting of the company Wolf Gerüstbau. Background for this are works on the church tower, which unfortunately will probably last until mid 2021. The storm "Sabine" had caused damage to the church in spring 2020. Although this has been partially repaired, the church tower must still be scaffolded. Unfortunately, nobody can predict how this will affect the breeding process in the following spring. Please keep your fingers crossed that the hawks will nevertheless take the niche and not migrate.