Welcome to the 2017 American Kestrel Partnership’s Bosch KestrelCam! Our KestrelCam is located in Boise, Idaho at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey. This is our sixth year of providing a window into the world of American Kestrels in their first days of life. This box has fledged a total of 32 kestrels, as of June 2017!
About five eggs are typically laid beginning in April or March (this year March 27). Both parents incubate the eggs for about 28-31 days. Once eggs hatch, both parents help raise the nestlings until they are old enough to fly at around 30 days old.
The kestrel nesting season has concluded for 2017, with four fledglings now flying out in the world. The KestrelCam is turned off for now, however, you can check out our forums to discuss kestrels with experts, or follow us on social media to follow continued kestrel discovery. Thanks for watching, everyone!
The Bosch KestrelCam captured this battle between a kestrel and a starling early in the spring of 2014. Click here to learn more.
The Full Cycle Phenology Project brings together a group of diverse and uniquely qualified collaborators from Boise State University, the American Kestrel Partnership, HawkWatch International, St. Mary’s University, Environmental Laboratory of the U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and the University of California, Los Angeles. This project will combine cutting edge genetic techniques and a large-scale collaboration of professional and citizen scientists across the western hemisphere to find out more about migratory connectivity, population change, and the impacts of climate change on the American Kestrel and other migratory birds.
We are currently collecting feather samples across the breeding range of the American kestrel for genetic analysis (see Full Cycle Phenology website to get involved).
At around 6:30am, the first of the nestlings took their very first flight - and the other three quickly followed! This first flight is called 'fledging' and it is when a baby bird mostly leaves the nest for good. Among American Kestrels, it is not uncommon for fledglings to return to the nest box, for roosting at night or for a quick rest. So, the cams will stay on for a while, to catch when they do!
Fledging doesn't mean the nestlings are on their own, however. The parents continue to feed and take care of them while they practice flying and hunting, and it's quite the dangerous time! So both adults keep a close eye out while the fledglings do their bumbling around. Once the fledglings can hunt and survive on their own, they will leave the parents themselves.
Thank you everyone who watched the cam and commented! This was a great season!
Early in the morning, the nestlings were banded by Boise State University students from Dr. Julie Heath's lab. We can confirm that we have three females and one male nestling, and all four appear to be in good condition. While we were at it, we took genetic samples to map the genetics differences across the American Kestrel's range. The silver band is on their left leg, and it provides an individual ID# for the rest of their lives. We band them when they are about 18-25 days old, as their feet are adult-sized and the band will never get too tight from further growth. Now, we estimate we are about a week and a half away from fledging!
A few days ago, we also captured the adult female and got her band number! We discovered she was caught and banded in 2016 as a breeder 5.5 miles away! So this is not the first batch of nestlings this female raised.
Sometime in the morning, a fourth egg hatched! Looks like this brood is a normal-sized brood for American Kestrels, and all the nestlings so far are fairly similar in age. If the male seems gone often, it is because he is hunting. Once he has a meal, the female flies out to grab it from him, and this often happens off-camera. So it's been a long while since the male has been spotted, worry not - the true signal of his presence is the female leaving and then coming back quickly with food for the nestlings.
Early this morning, a third egg hatched! All three nestlings look healthy and fluffy so far!
Typically, American Kestrels incubate for around 27-31 days. So imagine our surprise when one of the eggs hatched a couple days early! At about 5:10pm, the first egg has hatched, and shortly after, the new nestling received its first meal. The other eggs could hatch at any time, so stay tuned!
Edit: About an hour later, the second egg hatched as well!
Sometime in the afternoon, a 5th egg appeared! Now the male and female both appear to be incubating full time, at least so far. Are they finished laying eggs? We shall find out! Five eggs is the normal clutch size for kestrels, but this odd spring is throwing us all for a loop, so we're all keeping our eyes peeled!
At about 12:30pm, the female kestrel got off the eggs and revealed a fourth egg! It seems she is back on schedule. Will she lay a fifth? Could be! Stay tuned!
After six days, a third egg appeared around 10:30am! Is the female kestrel restarting egg-laying? We can't say for sure, but this is great news! We're back on egg watch for this Thursday, and we'll be finding out together how many eggs her final clutch will be.
Five days have gone by, and the female has yet to lay a third egg. We do not know if she will lay another egg at this point, or if they have finished laying for the season. This pair could incubate just two eggs - we are all keeping a watch on the camera to see what occurs from here on out. Mysterious behavior like this is often why live cams are fascinating to watch - we can never truly expect what will happen and nature is completely in control!
As anticipated, the female laid the second egg around 9:18am this morning. This could mean the third one is incoming March 31st!
The female kestrel laid the first egg! The egg was spotted at approximately 10:15am. It is typical for kestrels to lay one egg every other day, so we anticipate the second one to show up on Wednesday sometime. Will you be the first to spot the second egg?
The average clutch for an American Kestrel is five eggs, and they do not typically begin incubating the eggs fully until all five are laid. Do not panic if you notice the female isn't sitting on her first bunch of eggs very often - the eggs will not perish before she begins incubation.
Hello and welcome to the new KestrelCam season! We're kicking off earlier this year, so that viewers can witness American Kestrel courtship behaviors! Here is some things to keep an eye out for:
The male kestrel coaxes female kestrels to his chosen nest site with gifts and display flights. Viewers may notice the male hanging about with rodents or other food, making chirping noises to call the female over. He will then often bow while offering the gift. If the female is not hungry, she may cache the food gifts in the nest box for later.
The male and female have also already started digging a "scrape," which is the term for the little depression falcons dig to lay eggs in. Both kestrels will do quite a bit of bedding rearranging as they prepare for eggs. They do not add any new materials themselves, however.
Viewers may also witness kestrel copulation. Kestrels mate frequently in the weeks before laying eggs.
Here's the lay dates of the first egg from previous years:
|2013||(estimated) April 25th-31st|
Have any guesses when the first egg may appear for 2017? Comment in the forums here!
In other news, we will also be hosting live chats with Delora Hilleary, the AKP Coordinator this year, starting with Tuesdays and Thursdays at 12pm MST. All viewers will need to participate is the ability to log into a google account! Contact us with any questions.
Five days have gone by, and the female has yet to lay a third egg. We do not know if she will lay
egg at this point, or
. This pair could incubate
two eggs - we are all keeping a watch
to see what occurs from here on out
Mysterious behavior like this is often why live cams are fascinating to watch - we can never truly expect what will happen