Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat
2019 Kestrel Nesting

This year, two pairs of kestrels nested successfully. The tower camera was not working this year and nesting in the tower was not monitored with video. The female was first observed entering the tower on April 13. Only two fledglings were observed on June 15. One was on an electric wire and the other fledged from the tower as I approached. These were either the last two or the only two. When the nest was inspected, no nestling remains or eggs were found and there may have been more than the two observed fledglings. There was again no attempt at a second brood as in 2004-2006.


American kestrel nestlings in box


Nestbox “A” on the barn wall was fitted with an extension for photography this year to enable a side view rather than the top down video view. The kestrel pair using box “A” fledged five nestlings, four female and one male. Video was monitored and recorded intermittently. The five eggs were laid every other day from April 15 through April 23, with incubation beginning on April 19.

American kestrels in nest box
kestrel nest box photography

Note that the one male nestling usually remained hidden behind his sisters when the camera access door was opened. At the same time, one or two of the females would sometimes hop into the camera housing to explore. With kestrels, it seems that females rule.


the camera housing

The modified nest box with camera extension. The camera can be operated by standing on a ladder or remotely from a lower floor, if desired.


nestling American kestrels with prey
American kestrel nestlings with prey

The nestlings become quite adept at butchering before they fledge.


American kestrel nestlings


Video of older nestlings  11 minutes. While very young nestlings usually seem to be adequately fed, that is less often the case for half grown nestlings who must begin competing for attention.

Video of younger nestlings  9 minutes

Last year (2018) this nest box was used by Northern flickers and the nest was predated by a black rat snake.  2018 Black rat snake predation.  Three nestlings fledged from the tower.

2020 Kestrel Nestings
Kestrel nest with6 eggs
Male American Kestrel incubating 6 eggs
The kestrel pair in box A on the barn wall got an early start in 2020. Their first egg of six was laid on March 26 and subsequent eggs were laid two days apart, as usual. The male relieved the female from incubation duty at least once each day and brought her prey several times a day, which they shared in their ugly young maple tree as in years past.
Female American Kestrel feeding nestlings on May 6
Kestrel feeding nestlings
Feeding 4 day old nestlings
Feeding 8 day old nestlings
19 day old American Kestrels
The last to fledge

The 19 day old nestlings often squirt their excrement too high, causing it to fall back down on them. It is supposed to land on the walls, thus keeping themselves and their nesting material clean. In an earlier Kestrel page, I had mentioned planning to raise the roof on the tower box, putting the camera lens out of reach of these vertical squirts. But, now I realize that would be doing them a great disservice since much of their vertical squirting does adhere to a low roof, while it would all rain down on them if the roof were out of reach. The female above was the last of the six to fledge on June 1st.  Well done, kestrels!


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
Willow flycatcher
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
turkey vulture
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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