Wednesday, July 2, 2008

American Kestrel Watch in Littleton CO

For the past two years we have enjoyed American Kestrels nesting in a nest box on our roof. Last year four chicks successfully fledged and gave us over 2 months of enjoyment as the parents labored through gestation, fed their fledglings, and taught them how the fine art of raptoring.

This year I placed an infrared camera in their nest box and wired it directly to our family room TV. We have watched with total amazement as a male and female Kestrel have taken up residence and fended off both Northern Flickers and European Starlings to lay undisputed claim to “their nest box.” So far however the would be parents seem to be unlucky in love as none of their eggs have hatched. The first egg was laid on April 2nd followed by number 2 on April 6th, number 3 on April 8th, and number 4 on April 10th. With normal gestation at approximately 30 days we feel there is no hope for a family on this outing. In fact three of the eggs have already disappeared – one on May 4th, another on May21st, and another on May 29th. As of July 1st the Kestrel couple is still trying to incubate their lone egg although we have observed much less participation by the male in the past couple of weeks.

Both female and male Kestrel has shared the egg warming and turning chores constantly. We are not sure what the cause of their failure is. Perhaps they are not experienced or perhaps they nested too early and the temperatures were too cold. The big news is how dedicated to the cause they are. As of this writing they have been on eggs for 89 days.
We will continue the watch and report our findings.

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