Kestrel vs Jackdaw | Brutal Fight To Defend 6 Kestrel Bird Eggs
The female kestrel in my garden has won yet another a bitter battle to protect her eggs - this time fighting off marauding jackdaws in a bloody and vicious fight.
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Mrs Kes is a formidable falcon and last year bravely fought jackdaws, barn owls and a tyrannical tawny owl to keep her eggs safe. (Click here to read the story: robertefuller.com/diary/how-i... )
DEFENDING THE NEST
Now she has had to summon up her strength again as barn owls, a new male kestrel, not her mate, and a pair of marauding jackdaws mount a series of devastating raids on her nest. Nest sites are hotly contested in spring, and my cameras reveal that the battle for the best site is brutal.
In the last of several vicious clashes, the female kestrel gets covered in blood and her eggs scatter across the floor of the nest. Exhausted by the battle, she does her best to continue incubating but makes no effort to collect her eggs back together.
I don't like to intervene with wildlife, but it's clear that if I don't this clutch will fail. I gather the eggs up together and thankfully Mrs Kes returns to incubate them. However, three of the eggs are worryingly cold.
HATCHING DATE APPROACHES
These eggs are due to hatch any day now. I hope the chicks have survived. It is has been a bitter ordeal for this kestrel pair. And especially for Mrs Kes. Laying and brooding six eggs is tough enough, the female has laid over half her body weight in eggs! But doing this in the face of constant attacks just shows how hardy these birds have to be.
Mrs Kes’ laid her first egg on Easter Monday, April 5, 2021. It was bitterly cold and she didn't lay her second until April 8th. But she then laid her third on April 10th, and her fourth on April 12th. Incubation usually begins once the third egg is laid and lasts roughly 27-29 days. The fifth and sixth eggs were laid on April 14th and 16th respectively.
Males are as invested as females in incubation and the eventual raising of the chicks. Mr Kes even practised sitting on the first egg when he discovered it. He also continues to support her by bringing her food and helping to fight off competition.
Kestrels incubate their eggs for 30 days on average, and so I am expecting the eggs to hatch from today, May 10th. These will hatch at two day intervals. I stream the action from inside this kestrel nest on my livestream here: archannels.info/online/f2Sx4K26hMSmaoA/fydyw
I am a British wildlife artist based in Thixendale, North Yorkshire, UK. I build ideal habitats to encourage wildlife into my garden and use nest cams to study their behaviour. These studies inform my paintings. I share the best of my video research on this channel for free. If you would like to support my work please consider a small donation here: www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s...
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