Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Kestrel

About a year or so ago we put a nest box high up in one of the eucalyptus trees. We were hoping to attract an owl that we were hoping would help take care of the local gopher population.

Look at the middle of the tree and you may see it. (You can click on the picture to enlarge.)
Or just let me enlarge for you.
We haven't attracted any owls but just a short couple of weeks ago we noticed a couple of American kestrels hanging about the area.
I was waiting to post this story until I could get some better pictures. Unfortunately, that was not to be.
Yesterday morning as I was filling up one of the cows' waters I sadly found one of the kestrels floating in the couple of inches of water. It was dead. My husband, who is a pretty good amateur bird identifier, said it was the female.

We decided to check the nest box to see if there were any eggs.
We talked to a neighbor a couple houses down who used to hatch eggs but his incubator was broken. So my husband said "Go buy one" and I didn't argue. I went to Tractor Supply Company and $90 later we have our own incubator with automatic egg turner.

I don't hold out much hope for the kestrel eggs, but I figured it will come in handy for hatching our chickens' eggs. We can get rid of the boys early on -- that's another story -- and keep the girls.

What we will do with a couple of kestrels if they hatch is beyond me. I'm sure we'd have to have a permit of some sort to possess them so I'm thinking if they hatch we'll just release them like we've done ducks in the past or we could always give them to FACT to do what they do.

The incubation period for kestrels is supposed to be 30 days, so we'll have to see. If they hatch.

That's a big if.


Anonymous said...

I have my fingers crossed! What an amazing 'save'! AND maybe Dad and his new mate will return!! Was the female shot? or did the cows kill her??

tina f. said...

I think she drowned. It's kind of a puzzle to me because the water wasn't very deep but maybe it was too deep to put her feet down and she got soaked.

We now have just two eggs--one broke before we could get the incubator set up ☹ .