Kestrel Mania, Part XXX

The American Kestrels were extremely busy yesterday morning. During Wednesday’s storm, I saw neither skin nor feather of them, as expected. But the male was out bright and early in the rich tones of dawn on Thursday.

He soon flew over to the chimney, and several minutes later the female landed on the nearby roof pipe. They mated. And then the female moved over to the chimney and for the next hour and a half, there were a minimum of nine matings and/or copulations. I was not watching for most of this time, so I expect it happened a lot more. Between bouts, they preened themselves side by side on the rim of the chimney pot, dragging primaries and tail feathers through their bills, gnawing away at their breast feathers. I had not seen them so close together for such a long period before yesterday. [Some preening from Tuesday.]

While the pair were on the chimney pot, I noticed another Kestrel on the top of the car service antenna at 40th/5th. This is about 3/4s of a long block away from the chimney. This one was a female, making yesterday the only day in these weeks of Kestrel watching when I’ve seen two females at the same time. There didn’t seem to be any interaction between the pair and the solo female.

Both Peregrines were on the Industry City smokestack yesterday morning, too. There was a whole week where I didn’t see them at all up there.

Both the smokestack and the local Kestrel chimney are pumping out hot air. On cold mornings, this must be welcomed by the birds. The Kestrels will perch with tail inside the chimney as well as with tails out.

I put out a question on Twitter on the number of times American Kestrels typically copulate in a season. Matthew Kamm, a PhD candidate at Tuffs, graciously responded with recommending a classic monograph by Thomas G. Balgooyen, and sharing Balgooyen’s estimate of –wait for it — 690 copulations per clutch, with particular intensity 2-3 weeks before nesting.

I’m having trouble tracking down the book, but here’s a sample on the importance of pre-nesting behavior: “Mate choice, and the establishment and maintenance of the pair-bond between the sexes, is based on nest box inspections, important for sexual stimulation and establishing an acceptable nesting site; copulations that are important for fertilization and potentially inferring mate quality; and food transfers that demonstrate the male’s provisioning ability and help the female to achieve sufficient condition for laying and incubation.”

0 Responses to “Kestrel Mania, Part XXX”



  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s




Share

Bookmark and Share

Join 561 other followers

Twitter

Nature Blog Network

Archives


%d bloggers like this: