Monday, May 14, 2012

KRAP Update

The Kestrel Residential Accommodation Partnership (KRAP) put up some nest boxes last year to invite kestrels to move in and make lots of babies.  So how are those kestrel nest boxes doing this year?  Last year they only produced starlings, with the exception of the box that was placed on Laurie's farm over in Wisconsin.  A family of flickers took up residence there.  I have been observing the box that is the closest to the farm, which overlooks the field next to the road leading to the house.  Kestrels have been spotted this year all around the area, vocalizing, sitting on the wire over the box, and sitting on the box.  I have been hopeful that they took up residence, but have kept my distance so that I don't scare them off if they were house shopping.  Today I decided to verify.

There is a website that I have linked to here on my page, where you can register a nest box, record your observations, as well as observe an active nest by web cam.  That will be my next stop after this blog entry, to register this nest box.  Richard brought a ladder, and he peeked into the box.  He had to remove some securing wires first.  As we came near to the box I saw a female kestrel exit quickly.  No one defended the box while we were there.  When he peeked inside, this is what he took a picture of.
This box is a success . . . so far.  We secured the box and left right away.  I watched from a distance for awhile, and did not see the female return to the box, but I did see the male fly back with food in his talons (looked like a small mouse) and she joined him in the air, vocalizing.  They landed in a small tree, the only one near the nest box, and she took possession of the food.  He then flew off towards the horizon for some more hunting.  I left after watching her for a few minutes eating her lunch.  The web site indicates it is OK to make a quick nest box inspection.  It is a warm day, 80s, so the eggs should be OK unattended.  She probably went back after her lunch.

I'll follow their progress and report here.  We may also check on the other two boxes that we put up near here.  Laurie hasn't noticed any activity at her box this year, yet.

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