Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat
American Kestrel 2021 Nesting
Kestrel Box H
The kestrel tower was rejected by kestrels this year, likely because it had been discovered by squirrels. In March I had surprised two squirrels in the tower nesting compartment when I opened the instrument door to change the light timer to daylight savings time. After 19 years, I suppose that was inevitable. The tower kestrels moved to a nest box on the west wall of the house that I had modified for screech owls after seeing one in a front yard sycamore several years ago. The screech owl was never seen or heard again and only starlings had frequented the box until this year. A video monitor and temperature data logger were set up at this box as well as at kestrel box A on the barn. This new box on the west facing brick wall would be much hotter than the north facing box on the barn wall in late afternoon. This would offer an opportunity to compare nesting success at all stages between the two environments even though the two nestings were not in perfect sync.
The box H kestrels shared incubation of 5 eggs. Even though their new box was closer to the barn kestrel’s nest, the two pairs seemed to ignore or avoid one another just as in previous years. Both pairs seem to have maintained their separate hunting territories from year to year even with several likely mate replacements.

The male leaves as the female enters with prey and deftly feeds one day old nestlings.


When the flicker nest box was predated last year, I wrote that I wondered what would happen if a black rat snake entered a kestrel nest box and was confronted by an adult kestrel. Now I know.

VIDEO:  DISASTER!  (or dinner?)

A large black rat snake was trapped in bird netting under the porch below box H the next day and a second one seven days later. Both were just under six feet in length.  A third was trapped in the same netting several weeks earlier. It seems that these fascinating creatures like old farmhouses as much as I do. At least, they stay in the basement. 

NEST BOX A on the barn wall
Female feeding five nestlings
One of the female nestlings always jumped into the camera housing at portait time

Why are the eggs so often arranged in a perfect geometric shape rather than randomly clumped together? The female usually does this, not the male. Six eggs in a circle remind me of a benzene molecule so I have named her Kekulé.

The five nestlings in Box A fledged on time and were observed in the area for several days.  The box H pair did not attempt a second nesting. 

2021 Kestrel nestings and predation
2016-2017 Kestrel Nesting
2019 kestrel nestings
2010 American kestrel nesting
2012-2015 kestrel nesting
2002-2006 kestrel nesting
2001 American kestrel nesting
Kestrel tower
The American Kestrel
More on American kestrels
2022 update - Return of the barn owls
2021 Chimney Swift tower success!!!
2020 Barn Swallow nesting
Barn swallow nest cups
2019 Barn Swallows and Black Rat Snakes

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
Black rat snakes vs barn swallows, Northern flickers, kestrels and others

2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
2017 Purple Martin prey photos
2010 - 2016 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
2019-2020 Purple Martin nesting
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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©2022, Richard Van Vleck, Taneytown MD