Kestrels Re-Nest

Saturday afternoon, painters gentrified the cornice that American Kestrels have used as a nest since 2018. As part of that very rapid work, they closed off the rotted-out old hole up there. On Sunday, we still saw both birds from the window. But Monday morning, ominously, we didn’t have wee colorful falcons perched in the dawn.

But I noticed one of them flying and dropping below the line of the buildings about halfway down the block. Perhaps they’d already found a new nest site? (There was a Starling nest I remembered down there somewhere.) There are some very poorly-maintained cornices in this town, my friends. This is one of the reasons American Kestrels do so well here: cavity nest sites for the taking. They don’t have to depend on dead trees in the supposed “wild,” where, in fact, American Kestrels populations are not doing well.

The blue-winged male looks small here. He is smaller. And right now, the gravid female is literally at her largest.

Anyway, I had my eyes peeled as I walked down the hill to 5th Avenue. As soon as I turned the corner onto the Avenue, there was a kestrel flying my way! Oh, hello! The flying scimitar passed overhead, kitty-cornering across the street. And whoosh went the bird into a hole in a cornice.

The female came back out a few moments later and landed on a TV antenna the next block over. The male joined her. With food.

Just a snack. Looks like an Eastern Carpenter Bee.

One long avenue block away from the old site, the kestrels have a new nest. They didn’t waste any time; they didn’t have any time. Eggs are expected any moment now. Roughly a month for incubation, then another before fledgling. Late June, early July is when we should expect to see new birds.

Of course, all this means we won’t be seeing them from our windows every day. The precipitous drop in altitude between 6th and 5th Avenues means the roofline down there can’t be seen from up here. Have we been spoiled!

Some highlights of a glorious run:

Catching bugs

Just hanging around, there was always a lot of that.

Bathing.

Eating.

Grooming, and stashing prey on our fire-escape.

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