Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fledging Kestrels

Last weekend I invited my very good friend, and former falconry sponsor, Dave Noble and his girlfriend, Sue to come to the farm and try to catch pictures of the kestrels in the nestbox, which I anticipated would fledge.  They came both Saturday and Sunday, with Sunday being the best day.  Saturday was wet and dreary.  Sunday was sunny and temperate.  It was a most fortuitous day for them both.  While I was at work, they came to the farm and set up their blind and captured the action.  Having watched the nest boxes myself previously, I know there are long hours of waiting, with quick moments of action.  They caught these fantastic pictures, which Dave was kind enough to allow me to share here on my blog.  All these pictures are his work, and he holds the copyright.  They are posted here by permission.

I like this picture above best of all!  It took a lot of patience to capture it.
As they were there photographing, several of the four eyases fledged.  They caught this action shot above of the event.  Later, Dave posted on his Facebook page that another of the fledglings launched into the world, and while making its way to a treeline was spotted by a crow, which quickly headed its way, hoping to make a quick meal.  Crows and raptors are bitter enemies, sometimes competing for the same food resources.  Dave expressed that he thought the fledgling was a 'goner', but the parents were attentive and quickly came in to defend their offspring from the offending crow, which was beaten into submission by them both.
The male kestrel was hovering at some point in the day with a tasty grub in his beak.  Last year, during a nest inspection, I found a half-eaten mouse.  These little raptors do prey on many insects, but can also hunt small songbirds . . . especially the female, which is larger.  I do so love the look of the North American Kestrel.  It is a very colorful little falcon!

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