Live Kestrel Nest Cam at Letham Shank Farm
Previous Years Videos
Current temperature: 6.4°C . Wind Speed: 2.9kts. from the S. Sunrise:05:38 Sunset:20:36.
Fifth egg laid this evening. Six has been her normal clutch size in the past.
The fourth egg laid today at around 17:00. The male is bringing a lot of food to the nest, but takes his turn sitting on the eggs to allow the female to stretch her wings.
The third egg was laid today and the hen seems to be a bit more serious in incubating full time. Generally the hen starts incubation after the third egg.
Second egg laid at 10:00 today.
The hen has been hanging around the nest for a few days but today looks more as if she is serious about laying. She has been forming a hollow and making herself comfortable.
All six have left the nest now and at least four are still in the vicinity and being fed by parents - but are venturing out in the big wide world.
The first chick left the nest last night and was followed by another this morning. They are not far away - perched on beams of the shed and are still being fed by the parents.
It has taken this long to confirm that there are actually six chicks. It is extremely difficult to count six heads when thay are all moving so rapidly!.
It appears that five chicks have hatched successfully. The parents are very attentive and bringing plenty of voles/mice/shrews as food.
The first chick hatched late afternoon and is already taking food from the parents. In contrast to the owls, the male kestrel is having little difficulty catching prey, and has sufficient to hide some in his 'larder' for later.
I expected that the first egg would hatch around now but nothing yet. However the female, whilst on the nest, seems a little agitated and perhaps can hear the chicks inside the eggs.
When checking other nestboxes today I found two Kestrel eggs in another Owl box. I think they were driven in here by Jackdaws and were not really happy and abandoned the box as soon as their traditional box was available.
Around dawn the sixth (and surely the final) egg was laid.
Egg number five appeared at midday.
The fourth egg was laid around noon. It appeared that the hen was starting to 'sit' on the eggs and there was doubt that she would lay more. Kestrels, like most other birds, lay a clutch of five or six eggs before commencing incubation.
The third egg laid this morning.
Now that they have claimed the nest, the pair are staying close to the box and now two eggs. The male leaves occaisionally to hunt and either bring food to the female or stand guard while she hunts.
Although the Kestrels have never left the vicinity it was assumed they were nesting elsewhere, until this morning when they arrived at 06:00 and the hen laid a hen very soon after. A very pleasant surprise!
The population of Jackdaws has increased markedly this year and they are having a disruptive effect on many nesting species including the Kestrels who are being kept from their nest box by Jackdaws mobbing them.
The pair have been in the vicinity of the nestbox all winter and a bit of supplementary feeding was given during the first three months of 2018.
This 'nestbox' was made from half of an old copper hot water cylinder and fixed up in the ridge of an open hayshed about 50 years ago. It is at a height of about seven metres and faces west, but is sheltered from direct sun and wind. Initially pigeons nested in and on it but after a few years, the intended inhabitants, Barn Owls, arrived. Many broods were raised over a long period of years until 2012, when Kestrels took over and raised a brood of five. Hoping they would return in 2014 an IP camera was fitted to view the nest and the four chicks. In 2015, the video stream was uploaded to the website and over 800 visitors watched the five chicks hatch and grow. The camera should have been closer to the nest perhaps, but I did not want the birds to be nervous of anything if they did arrive back. For 2016, the camera was moved closer to the nest and the sheeting behind the nest was painted black to reduce backlighting. The Barn Owls moved to another nestbox, in case anyone is concerned. Please note that this is a poorly lit location in the roof of a shed and it is only the sophistication of the camera electronics that create a usable image.
The camera is a fairly inexpensive 'Zyxel' POE IP Camera (Power Over Ethernet, Internet Protocol) which delivers HD quality video to a constantly running PC. It has an IR cut filter and night illumination which is probably too bright at this close range. External grade Cat5, solid copper (for POE) cable was used as the run is about 80 metres.
software monitors this and seven other cameras and records to the hard drive on motion detection. The POE router uploads the video to '
' where it is broadcast with no restriction on user numbers or bandwidth.
A few stills from the camera, whilst the birds were incubating eggs.
The camera and nestbox.
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