BOISE, Idaho –The daily life of a wild pair of American Kestrels is on view via a webcam, which began streaming the 2014 season today. The falcons have settled in a nest box at the World Center for Birds of Prey and produced two eggs so far, with up to three more expected in the next few days.
The female laid her first egg Saturday, April 19, followed by a second one on Monday, April 21. Kestrels typically lay an egg every two days until they have a clutch of three to five eggs.
This is the third season for the nest box located atop the Archives of Falconry building on The Peregrine Fund’s 580-acre campus at the end of South Cole Road. It is surrounded by open fields that provide the mice, lizards, and insects the kestrels need to successfully raise a family. In each of the previous two years, four young chicks have successfully fledged from this nest box.
After all the eggs are laid, the female will incubate them for about a month. After hatching, the chicks will remain in the nest and be cared for by both parents for six to seven weeks before taking their first flight. The young birds stay in the area for several more weeks to hone their flying and hunting skills under the watchful eyes of their parents before becoming independent.
The web camera is sponsored by The Peregrine Fund, Bosch, Idaho Department of Fish and Game, and Intermountain Bird Observatory.
Although they are one of the most common and familiar falcons in North America, American Kestrel populations have dropped nearly by half over the last 45 years. In the United States, declines are worst in the Northeast, where there are losses up to 88 percent in some areas.
The beautiful American Kestrel may be an important early indicator species of environmental impacts and changes. Reasons for the declines are unclear but may be due to changing land use, competition from other birds, toxins like pesticides or pollution, or climate change.
The Peregrine Fund launched the American Kestrel Partnership to find out what is causing the decline and how to stop it. The project brings together citizen scientists and professional researchers to create the largest kestrel research and conservation effort in history.
|Director of Global Engagement|