Crow’s Nest: Got Kestrels?

June 7, 2024

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

We are so very excited to announce the arrival of some babies at Crow’s Nest! For the first time in the five years that the Kestrel box has been erected at the preserve, we have an occupant using it to raise young.

A kestrel sitting on eggs inside a nesting box.

Photo: Cody Hudgens

You may recall we put up the Kestrel box in 2019 with Force of Nature volunteer Jim Moffett. It has a design where the 15′ post can be lowered for annual maintenance in the winter. For biweekly monitoring in the spring Cody Hudgens straps his phone on a telescoping pole and clicks the video camera to record before hoisting it up to the box entrance. These are stills from that video footage, which is done quickly to minimize impact on the brooding and raising of chicks.

Kestrel chicks looking up inside a nesting box.

Photo: Cody Hudgens

Eggs gave way to chicks on the most recent visit. Assistant Preserve Manager Claudia Winters (Sadsbury Woods, Willisbook, and Green Hills) has become certified in bird banding and is overseeing our Kestrel programs at Natural Lands and other habitats in the region. She will be banding the birds when they are 23 days old. The goal is to track and improve nesting success and learn about Kestrel behavior using the unobtrusive leg bands.