The Bosch KestrelCam captured this battle between a kestrel and a starling early in the spring of 2014. Click here to learn more.
All five KestrelCam nestlings are now banded! A professional biologist from Boise State University came up to do the banding while the AKP staff assisted. All five chicks were alert and healthy with a good fat amount on their bodies, and a couple even had excess food in their crops! The chicks are 26 days old, so they will be ready to fledge and take their first flights within a week. The silver ID band will identify each of them as individuals for the rest of their lives, so if they are caught again by biologists, we'll know where they went and how their health changed over time.
Feel free to ask any additional questions in our KestrelCam discussion thread!
The cameras will be down briefly while we band the five chicks! Stay tuned for more updates!
The inside camera will be offline briefly for a system reset and refocus.
The fifth chick hatched around 4:50pm! Now we have a full batch of five nestlings. The remnants of the egg yolk is absorbed into the nestling's body cavity directly prior to hatching, so for the first few days, the nestlings are feeding off of nutrients from that egg yolk stash in their bellies. The adult kestrels still feed the newborns, as it gets their systems working and provides a valuable boost!
Did you miss the first glimpse of the newly-hatched chicks? We made some videos!
Click here to watch the first sighting of the first hatchling!
Click here to watch the first sighting of the second and third hatchlings!
Click here to watch the first sighting of the fourth hatchling!
2:15pm UPDATE: The fourth chick arrived! It hatched during a feeding session. Only one egg left to hatch!
1pm UPDATE: The second and third egg hatched! Two new nestlings were revealed at 12:50pm when the female moved. Only two eggs left to go!
At around 7:30am, the first nestling emerged from its egg! While the female was off the eggs, two of the other eggs appear to be "pipped." Pipping means that the nestling inside made a small breathing hole in the shell, which means a full hatching is imminent. The other four eggs could hatch at any time, so stay tuned for news!
American Kestrels, like many birds, use a special knob on the top of their beak called an "egg tooth" to break out of the shell. This egg tooth gets smaller and dissappears after the first couple days of life.
Check out this video of the new nestling's very first feeding!
The eggs could hatch at any moment now! In preparation for hatching, we zoomed in and refocused the camera to get a closer look at the tiny white fuzzball babies when they appear. Let us know what you think, and keep an eye out with us while the hatch time is imminent!
Some folks noticed the wooden object in the nest box next to the incubating adults - worry not, it is nothing harmful! During the winter, we had the issue of Northern Flickers pecking at the microphone installed in the roof of the nest box. So, with the new nest box, we covered the microphone with a little piece of wood using velcro to protect it. It seems the velcro gave out, or got knocked off, and the little wood bit fell down. It is unlikely to bother the kestrels, so we will leave it be. No need to stress out the kestrels if we don't have to!
The writing on it says "woodpecker baffle" on it in pen.
Edit: Noticing that both of the adults were not in the nest box, we used that opportunity to just sneak up really quick and go grab the wood piece. We were super quick and we got back down without the adult kestrels even noticing. Success!
The female now has five eggs in the nest, and unless this is a rare instance of a kestrel laying six eggs, it is likely that full-time incubation will now begin. Among American Kestrels, females do the majority of the incubation, while the male spends most of his time hunting. They will swap occasionally, however, as the male will takeover incubation duties so the female can eat and spread her wings.
Both sexes don't have feathers covering their bellies, so the eggs are directly in contact with their warm skin. Surrounding feathers fold around the eggs to insulate from any cold, and also those same feathers hide the adult's naked bellies from view when they are off the nest. Incubation for kestrels typically lasts from 28-31 days - tell us in the forums if you have any bets on when the first egg hatches!
Both cameras are up and running now!
Hello and welcome to the 2016 KestrelCam season! We are pleased to be hosting this view into a kestrel's nesting world once again. If you notice technical issues with streaming, please use the contact staff form to get quick contact with our website admin.
The male and female in the nest box are not banded this year, and this year's male has far less black spotting on his plumage than last year's. Right now, the female is in the egg-laying stage. It is normal for American Kestrels to lay one egg every other day, and the average clutch size is 4-5 eggs.
The first egg was spotted in the morning on March 23rd. The second made an appearance on Friday, March 25th. Last night, the third egg appeared on Easter Sunday - our own little Easter egg hunt! Keep an eye out to catch that fourth one tonight or on Tuesday.
Many folks worry about eggs left unattended during the egg-laying period. American Kestrels typically do not start fully incubating their clutch until all eggs are laid, which helps the nestlings hatch closer to the same time. Unattended eggs at this stage are not in danger of perishing. Feel free to ask or discuss other questions in the forums from the link above!