Raptor Wednesday

Five American Kestrels.
And various combinations thereof.

Having been forced to move their nest cavity site down to the next avenue, the Kestrels have returned to their old haunts closer to this avenue.

4 Responses to “Raptor Wednesday”

  1. 1 Chuck McAlexander July 7, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    Have you considered getting permission to mount a nest box or two near the site of the old nest? They aren’t hard to make and might allow for permanent residency once again. I will manufacture them if your followers can come up with the needed funds for cedar and deck screws. I haven’t priced them lately, but think $20 to $25 per box is about what it would cost. I’ll get more definitive information if you are interested.

    • 2 mthew July 8, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      I wonder if the reason they do so well in the city is the admittedly precarious availability of cavity nesting sites in rotting architecture. There’s a lot of that, and generations raised in such surroundings may become accustomed to this, so I wonder if nest boxes would even work? The otherwise fascinating compendium Urban Raptors by Boal and Dykstra is notably quiet on American Kestrels. Who is study them in urban environments, where they’re evidently doing better than in rural ones?

  2. 4 Chuck McAlexander July 8, 2021 at 6:50 pm

    I am not aware of any ongoing study of American Kestrels, but I will ask around. I have seen them in holes in the wall, exhaust pipes, cornices both metal and concrete, as well as on ledges below water tanks. I offer boxes because they do see use elsewhere and it would return them to your easy viewing area. There is apparently a surfeit of cavity choices in NYC, but there had to be a reason they liked the old nest site. Perhaps the ancillary perches the male used to guard the nest were good in that location. Or, maybe there was just the right sunlight or branching places for the nestlings. Maybe she just got tired of looking and told him “this is the spot”. It’s her decision in the end, anyway.
    One reason for their great success is the huge,dependable supply of food and water, a.k.a. house sparrows, water bugs(American Roaches), newborn rats and mice as well as potholes and leaky pipes everywhere.plus, it’s a visually dense environment. There are lots of ways to avoid detection while hunting in the city. In the field they kite over grassy fields and only the stupid prey don’t notice them until it’s too late.
    Maybe one reason cornices and holes in the wall are attractive to kestrels is that unless you see a bird entering or leaving, something done in a flash, you don’t see these artifacts as nests. They literally are part of the background. As such, they are invisible. Perhaps some ducting along the lines of the 25th Street kestrels I observed turned into a luxury suite would be a better choice.
    Think on it.

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