Kestrel Nesting-Diary 2021
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.
After a very wintry week with extremely low temperatures especially at night there are some activities around the church tower. This morning 4 jackdaws and the pair of kestrels were on site, inspecting in particular the large scaffolding, but also the surrounding trees and houses. The falcons were very careful in doing so, one can only hope, that in this phase not too much work around the church tower takes place. The Terzel sat briefly also at the entrance of the niche, while Mrs. Falcon eyed the surroundings suspiciously.
Completely unexpected the first egg has been laid today. Obviously the scaffolding of the church tower has disturbed less than expected. Lets hope this will not change.
After the surprise of the day before yesterday, we are now waiting for the 2nd egg, unfortunately it has
become quite cool, so that the next eggs may be waiting. The hawks and also the jackdaws had rest during the Easter holidays,
we will see how the continuing construction work affects the breeding activity.
The two ruddy geese, which had inspected the tower and the stork's nest during the Easter holidays, have probably moved on in the meantime.
To early rejoiced! This morning both hawks sat still briefly on the first egg, we had already wondered that
no second came to it. Then this afternoon we were told that Mrs. Falcon, had eaten the egg almost completely, there is only a
piece of shell in the niche. We have informed ourselves and found out that defective eggs are eaten directly by the Falcons
directly eaten to avoid sick offspring. The last two nights were very cold, maybe the egg has been damaged by this, we do not know.
Egg hereby damage taken, we do not know.
Many Thanks to Christel R. for the infos given.
Today at noon the 2nd attempt was started, a new 1st egg is now in the niche. We keep all fingers crossed that the brood succeeds, also in view of the upcoming construction work in the church tower, in recent days it has been quiet on the site due to the low temperatures.
Ms. Kestrel had laid her 2nd egg last night and immediately started breeding. Also tonight she was in the niche and warmed the eggs. At such an early stage we have not seen it in previous years, but perhaps it is also due to the failed start.
Completely unexpected, but in time Ms. Kestrel has laid her third egg this morning. Maybe finally it will be a relatively normal breeding season this year.
And now even a fourth egg. It seems as if the noise of the workers at the church roof doesn't harm the kestrel. The weather is fine too. So we will wait and see whether that will stay.
As the two share the time for breeding, we missed the fact that in between the fifth egg has been laid. We
even found out only this morning, have been made aware about it by a number of our "kestrel friends". Many thanks for the
picture from 25th to S. Flachenecker.
We are very curious how it will continue. There is no noise at the working site for the moment. Since Mrs. Falcon had already started brooding after the 2nd egg laying, we expect a clear difference in the then hatching chicks.
This afternoon we received a message, the first chick has hatched. The construction work at the bell tower of the church probably will be a little less disturbing due to pentecostal holidays. The first days of the life of the chicks therefore will be a little more silent. We now hope for a good ending and say thank you to family Kern for the message.
This morning round about 7 AM Ms kestrel gave us the chance for a peek, because food had been supplied. There are already 3 chicks that have hatched! The smallest but is a bit naked and looks a bit different to the other two. But we are sure it is also kept warm sufficiently.
The broken eggshell this morning did already tell. Nr. 4 has hatched. The supply by the Terzel is functioning quite well and the mother kestrel can breed and warm the nest.
We thank very much Christina Lüst from Oldenburg for the information about the fifth chick. We always appreciate such infos as well as the fact that our homepage has so many visitors.
We are horrified and very sad: Tonight the five falcon babies disappeared together with their mother.
We have received many letters and guestbook entries, but no one has seen anything decisive. Yesterday evening everything was still in order,
Halina H. observed an empty niche at 4:30 already. We were there this morning at 8:00 and found no traces in the churchyard.
Our camera does not record, so unfortunately we have no information about night incidents. Since we have no evidence, we do not want to suspect anyone.
The only possibilities are: marten, weasel, eagle owl, owl or human. Possibly this question can never be answered.
The last photo from 29.5. shows the Terzel, which wanted to bring food and is currently looking for his family.
The tercel sat again at the entrance of the niche and cried for his family. There is no information whatsoever about the mother kestrel. We do not have any hints yet.
Since we have currently switched off the live camera due to maintenance and cleaning work, we would like to
give a small report about the past days on this way. First of all, many thanks for the many letters and contributions, an incredible
number of people have contacted us about this incident, from Keltern and the surrounding area, the Enzkreis, Baden Württemberg and
further away. We were not aware at all how many falcon friends there are.
Unfortunately, there are apparently not only friends of these great birds, otherwise we can not explain the disappearance of the 5 young falcons and their mother. Since there is however due to the time apparently nobody, who observed the incident, we would like to express also no suspicions without proofs. Rebecca K. had observed a marten at the church tower in the night in question between 3 and 4 o'clock, but by then the niche was apparently already empty. Martens were of course our main suspects at first, since it is known that they live in the vicinity of the church and could theoretically have climbed the scaffolding or even climbed up the tower (?). However, a possible marten attack does not fit to the clean crime scene, where no traces like feathers, blood, body parts or excrements could be seen.
There will probably be no clarification, so we hope that at least the mother was or will be released at some point.
The tercel can still be found mainly in the mornings at the church tower and in the niche. He regularly brings a mouse by and calls. Since few days also a female hawk could be observed, which sometimes also sits in the niche and accepts the mouse as a present (but not every time). Unfortunately it is not possible to find out if it is the mother hawk or another female hawk, because kestrels are usually not ringed.
We therefore hope for a new, successful breeding season in 2022.