The chicks are ready to fly! Update & preview from Kestrels at Close Quarters
See the progress on the upcoming TV documentary on the Common kestrel and watch an exclusive clip. The end of the breeding season approaches and the young kestrels get ready to leave the nest.
June and July are the months when most young Common kestrels (Falco tinnunculus) leave the nest. After about 28 days in the egg and another month in the nest, the chicks are now fully grown. They exercise their wing muscles on the nest's edge and get ready for the first flight of their lives.
We are following several pairs of kestrels and taking a close look at the fate of their chicks, always filming with 4k cameras through Swarovski Optik STX95 scopes.
While many pairs in artificial nest boxes have high breeding success, there are plenty of nesting sites that are somewhat less than perfect. This is true for a pair that is breeding on a windowsill in central Vienna, exposed to the heat of the sun, cold rain, and dangerous winds. We are anxious to find out if the two chicks there will make it. Fingers crossed!
Protecting their eggs and chicks from harsh weather is just one of the difficult tasks the adult kestrels face these days. Whether they are able to catch enough prey for their offspring determines how many of them will survive. Voles, small birds and insects are the main prey, but we were surprised to also see Sousliks (Spermophilus citellus) among the group in some places!
Even when the young falcons fledge from their nest, they are not yet quite independent. It takes the juveniles several weeks to acquire the hunting and survival skills of their parents. We are looking forward to film this phase of their lives this summer!
Watch a clip with brand-new footage from the ongoing filming here:
About the author
Leander Khil is an ornithologist, birdwatcher and wildlife photographer from Graz, Austria. Driven by his love for birds, adventure and the outdoors he travels the world since he was a child.