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Breeding Kestrels

Saturday, May 9th 2020

Kestrels also use the large nest boxes put out by the Foxglove team. They breed a little later than the owls and usually it is the adult female who found is inside the box incubating the eggs.

The male provides the female and the chicks with food throughout the nesting period. The female will only hunt if food is short, risking the loss of eggs or young chicks.
Therefore, it is unusual to discover a male bird on the nest. However, this has been known on occasions and this photograph shows a beautiful adult male. Males are smaller than the females and have a slate grey head while females are all brown.

The bulk of their diet is made up of small rodents but they will also take a wide variety of other prey, including lizards, earthworms, large insects and even bats. Vole numbers affect kestrel numbers: in good vole years more young kestrels are fledged. There have been a lot of small mammal sightings by people out walking this year so hopefully, the Kestrels will do well during this breeding season. 

The timing of egg laying is dependent on the weather, but the female normally lays her clutch of 3-6 eggs in late April or early May. The eggs are a deep brown colour and look a bit like chocolate ones!

(1) Comments:

Tim Randall responded on 11th May 2020 with...

How lovely to to see these beautiful birds in such detail.

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