A virtual window into our balcony…
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The kestrel female and her new male decided to spend the winter with us. She arrives every evening with sunset to spend the night here. The courtship began in early February. The male started to hunt for the female and bring her prey as gifts. She began to spend the majority of her time near the nest. The first egg was laid on April 23, second on April 25, third on the night of April 27-28, fourth April 30, fifth May 2, sixth egg May 4. The kestrels started to incubate their eggs on May April 30. All 6 eggs have already hatched (the first two eggs on May 26, third on May 27, fourth on May 28, fifth May 30, sixth on June 1). The chicks require constant brooding for the first 10-14 days, after which they will be able to control their own body temperature. So for the first days the female will stayed with them in the nest.
Currently there are still 6 chicks on our balcony which is more than we expected. They were ringed on June 16. The male bird is still doing most of the hunting. The female is also hunting but she is also spending a lot of time near the nest. All chicks learned to handle prey now and feed themselves. After training on the balcony, four elders fledged on June 26-27, their two younger sisters / brothers on July 2-3. They spend now most of the day somewhere nearby in the street. Most of them return for the night.
In the beginning of March, kestrels, that spent the winter elsewhere, appeared in the neighborhood, which is leading to frequent conflicts between these strangers and “our” kestrels.
When the kestrel 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 swifts nesting next to the kestrel’s balcony, are back from May 7. However, not all flats in their nestbox are inhabited yet.