The kestrels have hatched! In a story we told you last month, the Peregrine Fund is asking citizen scientists to put up nest boxes and monitor American Kestrel populations across the U.S. The American Kestrel Partnership has a box with a webcam posted at the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise. The wild kestrel pair laid five eggs in April. Friday, all five chicks successfully hatched.
Matt Giovanni is a research biologist with the Peregrine Fund who oversees the next box at the Center. He says the male kestrel is doing most of the hunting, while the female sits on the chicks to keep them warm. Kestrels are hatched with only a thin layer of down and can’t regulate their own temperature. Until they can, the mother acts like a feathery blanket.
The chicks are eating a diet of voles, lizards, snakes, grasshoppers, and deer mice. It’ll take about 30 days for the chicks to grow up at which time they’ll leave the nest box.
You can watch the chicks live online, and report what you see at the American Kestrel Partnership website. Giovanni says since the Partnership was launched last month, more and more people are putting up their own nest boxes and reporting what they see to scientists. That information will help them learn where the kestrel is declining, and the best way to help them thrive.