Kestrel Nesting-Diary 2022
We had almost given up hope. In previous years, the pair of kestrels (or a different one) could always be
seen and sometimes heard at the beginning of the year in sunny weather around the church tower. This year, once again,
everything was different. Usually we were always indignantly insulted during our cleaning work in the niche, this year
even the residents who were interviewed had not seen a kestrel. The low temperatures during the nights could have been
a reason. Coincidentally, we could then observe two pairs of falcons over the church on 14.03. in the morning, which delivered
each other fierce battles. Apparently they fought about the nesting place, since then in the morning alternately the tercile
or a female sits at the entrance of the niche. It looks quite good then after all.....
A word about the events in June 2021, which have occupied us personally for a very long time. We are aware that without our live transmission it might not have happened, if indeed humans should have been the cause of the disappearance of the young falcons and the mother. Unfortunately, we could not prove this because our camera does not record. We decided to stop advertising the live broadcast in order to keep the number of viewers as small as possible.
Our kestrels are now regularly sitting in the alcove or at the entrance, furthermore, they are courting,
mostly near the church. We are very curious if and when the 1st egg will be laid. In previous years this was always the case
in mid to late April.
Strangely, this year there were no major clashes with the jackdaws, they behaved relatively peacefully and occupied the old nesting sites on the other side of the church tower.
At the weekend we had a total failure of the camera, after checking the system and the wiring it had to be
removed and inspected. Unfortunately, a repair was not possible, so there are now recordings of a new camera. Many thanks also
to Mr. Fröhlich for the short-term support with the new configuration.
Around the church today was continued with busy courtship. Any rivals that may have appeared are driven away collectively. Our pair of kestrels was simply amazed by the white stork that made itself comfortable in the stork nesting aid and on the church roof this morning. This was only curiously observed, but not attacked.
At exactly 12.00 am it was finally time, we could watch live that Mrs. Falcon has laid the first egg. She
was already quite restless and always present in the niche. The end of April seems to be a bit late compared to previous years,
but with the cooler temperatures especially at night not so surprising.
Falcons lay their eggs at intervals of two days and usually breeding is started only after the last egg. We hope very much for a happy course.
Mrs. Falcon guards her 5 eggs this year already very early, perhaps it is nevertheless the falcon mama of
the last year. It seems as if both partners do not want to let the clutch out of sight, we had not observed this in previous
years. Also the tercile comes over again and again as a replacement, the prey is also served directly in the niche.
From time to time you can see him or her sitting on the stork nesting aid, mostly in the evening and only when the stork is not there, who still pays a visit to the church roof from time to time.
The wait has finally come to an end, one chick had already hatched this morning, around 8 o'clock also came
the first mails from attentive observers, many thanks for that! We are very curious, in which intervals now the next chicks will
hatch, because the mother hawk had started very early with the brood, actually already after the first egg.
Around 11.15 o'clock the tercile came with a mouse, but this was still put aside. However, he was only allowed to look at his offspring from the entrance.
Yesterday there were already three kestrels-chicks. It is fascinating to observe how quickly the Dunenkleid
of the youngest develops, whereby one can also already see very clearly the difference in size between the oldest and the youngest chicks.
In the late morning the mother hawk left the niche for the first time, but only for a short time. Apparently there is a mouse depot outside again (earlier it was a rain gutter, we will observe it).
After the big thunderstorm tonight it should be very hot this week, this will probably not bother the falcon family, they are well protected in their niche from the sun, wind and rain. The 1st week is now done and you can actually watch the little falcons grow every day. The mom now also leaves the nest for a short time and presumably the tercile may now soon hand over the prey himself. We will see. Apparently it is again a good mouse year.
Due to the higher temperatures, the activities seem to be somewhat limited. Already received inquiries from concerned spectators, whether enough is fed. But the little ones leave a very lively impression, they are grooming themselves and even stretching their wings. Outside of the niche there is some excitement at the moment, as it seems that a second pair of hawks is in the airspace more often, also the jackdaws fly strangely each time at feeding time some attacks on the falcon pair. The mother hawk is now mostly outside the niche, but sits either on one of the trees opposite or on the tower roof, so has everything in view.
Our falcon babies are growing, their plumage is changing more and more. They begin to slide further and further forward and to observe their environment attentively. We expect them next week at the edge of the niche, where they will certainly be seen then. This weekend it will still be unusually noisy for them in the evenings, as the street festival in Ellmendingen is taking place, fortunately on the other side of the church. Let's hope that the mother hawk will not be irritated by the loud music again.
The young falcons want to get out, you can see it clearly. They flap their wings, climb up the wall and jump
around. As soon as the tercile or the mother hawk are sighted, they call loudly. It is remarkable how the parents manage everything
together. The young falcons learn everything from each other and with each other, both the flight exercises and the plumage care.
Today it is raining very hard in the morning, it is hoped that no one will dare to go out in these conditions of all things. The parents are currently reducing the food supply, this is normal in the last days, the young should be lured to leave the nest.
Yesterday three joung kestrel have left the niche, today a fourth followed. Number five prefers to stay for a while. this afternoon, because of strong winds the three came back into the niche where they even have gotten food.
After the stronger wind from the day of the exit has fortunately died down, the days pass with flight exercises. From the niche to the tree, to the stork's nest, to the tree and back again. We have again an edge stooler, a "rain gutter slider" and at least one screamer. At night the young hawks like to return to the niche, but they feed exclusively in the tree, in the stork nest or in the rain gutter. We are curious to see how long they will stay on the church grounds this year, 2 years ago we had quite a funny troop, which did not want to fly out at all.