Letham Shank Farm - The Kestrel Nest

 

Kestrel Nest Videos - More feeding. Live Camera Feed

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One parent returns to the nest with some prey and the sitting bird then helps the 4 day old chicks to feed,

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Timeline 2018
9th May: Around dawn the sixth (and surely the final) egg was laid.
7th May: Egg number five appeared at midday.
5th May: 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.
3rd May: The third egg laid this morning.
1st May: 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.
29th April: 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!
30th March: 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.
20th March: 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.   

History
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.  

Technical
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. 'Blue Iris' software monitors this and seven other cameras and records to the hard drive on motion detection. The POE router uploads the video to 'ipcamlive' where it is broadcast with no restriction on user numbers or bandwidth.  
Kestrel leaving the nest box Kestrel leaving the nest box Kestrels changing over incubation. Kestrel camera and nest box
A few stills from the camera, whilst the birds were incubating eggs. The camera and nestbox.



 

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2000 - 2018