A virtual window into our balcony…
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The kestrel female and her male decided to spend the winter with us. She lives here since the end of July 2018, he since November 2019. Our balcony belongs mainly to them. They regularly spend their nights here. They can be seen also quite often during the day. We observed courtship behaviour since late January. He began to bring her gifts (the first vole recorded on January 28). A month later, on February 28, they began mating. There are not many other kestrel in the area yet. However, one young neighbor regularly visits our balcony, which is a permenant source of conflicts with “our” kestrels.
The female laid her first egg of the 2021 season just before noon on April 27. The second egg appeared on April 29, third on May 1st, fourth on May 3, fifth egg was laid during the night or early morning on May 6. The female started the incubation probably after laying the 4th egg. (The incubation period lasts about a month (+-28 days). The eggs hatched at the end of May – the first on the evening of May 29, the second on May 30 in the afternoon, third and fourth on May 31.
The chicks are 22 days – 24 days old.
Currently, the male and female are hunting but the male is still (mostly) passing the food to the female to bring back to the nest and feed the young. The chicks are learning to handle prey now and feed themselves.
Chicks were ringed on June 17.
When the kestrels are not present, you can see also other birds: tits, nuthatches (regular winter visitors in small mixed troops), sparrows… and also pigeons, whose presence is a permanent source of conflicts with kestrels.
The swift nestboxes next to the kestrel’s balcony are empty now. However, the first swifts who returned after the winter can already be seen and heard in our street since May 9.