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Kestrel

wildlife, gardening, environment, Rural living, Pets and Vets
scotia
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Kestrel

#192703

Postby scotia » January 11th, 2019, 12:29 pm

I'm accustomed to seeing lots of small birds in the garden on the nut feeders, but this morning they appeared to be absent. Even the starlings were not evident. Then I spotted a kestrel perched on the Rowan tree and looking attentively all around. A couple of hours later - its back to normal and the kestrel has disappeared.

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Re: Kestrel

#193280

Postby sg31 » January 13th, 2019, 6:39 pm

Are you sure it was a kestrel? The small birds round these parts barely give kestrels a second glance.

If a sparrowhawk appears there is no sign of bird life until it departs.

I know kestrels eat small birds but as this is a rural area there are plenty of small mammals they can catch so they only bother with small birds if they are very easy to catch.

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Re: Kestrel

#193418

Postby scotia » January 14th, 2019, 12:16 pm

sg31 wrote:Are you sure it was a kestrel? The small birds round these parts barely give kestrels a second glance.

If a sparrowhawk appears there is no sign of bird life until it departs.

I know kestrels eat small birds but as this is a rural area there are plenty of small mammals they can catch so they only bother with small birds if they are very easy to catch.

Definitely a Kestrel. Clearly the small birds in my garden think it is better to be safe than sorry :D

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Re: Kestrel

#193435

Postby bungeejumper » January 14th, 2019, 12:45 pm

Sounds entirely likely. Kestrels are used in hawking, so their willingness to attack flying targets doesn't need to be doubted. Even though they'd rather have a nice easy bit of roadkill instead.

In our garden, the predators that the birds fear most are the little owls, which are the only species of owls that hunt predominantly by day. I've watched one of these take a full-sized pigeon on the wing - it just dropped out of the sky and grabbed it by the back, and then finished it off as it fell to earth. Which was quite an achievement, since the pigeon is almost the same size and formidably strong in flight.

Less honourably, I've watched one of my favourite blackbirds fall victim to another owl. Sigh. :(

BJ

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Re: Kestrel

#193616

Postby sg31 » January 15th, 2019, 9:07 am

bungeejumper wrote:Sounds entirely likely. Kestrels are used in hawking, so their willingness to attack flying targets doesn't need to be doubted. Even though they'd rather have a nice easy bit of roadkill instead.

In our garden, the predators that the birds fear most are the little owls, which are the only species of owls that hunt predominantly by day. I've watched one of these take a full-sized pigeon on the wing - it just dropped out of the sky and grabbed it by the back, and then finished it off as it fell to earth. Which was quite an achievement, since the pigeon is almost the same size and formidably strong in flight.

Less honourably, I've watched one of my favourite blackbirds fall victim to another owl. Sigh. :(

BJ


I've not seen kestrels used in falconry. I used to fly peregrine and lanner falcons, a buzzard and a Harris hawk many years ago and knew a lot of other people who kept raptors. Some did keep kestrels as birds they could use to teach their children with but I never knew anyone who actually flew then at prey.

I'm not saying nobody does it, just that I've never come across anyone. They were used many years ago when the sport was in it's heyday.

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Re: Kestrel

#193645

Postby scotia » January 15th, 2019, 11:05 am

I should perhaps add that the Kestrel was perched in a Rowan tree close to the greenhouse. Last year I caught and transported a number of mice from that vicinity. Maybe they are back - and that was the intended prey of the Kestrel. But the small birds weren't taking any chances.

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Re: Kestrel

#194068

Postby bungeejumper » January 16th, 2019, 6:37 pm

sg31 wrote:I've not seen kestrels used in falconry. I used to fly peregrine and lanner falcons, a buzzard and a Harris hawk many years ago and knew a lot of other people who kept raptors. Some did keep kestrels as birds they could use to teach their children with but I never knew anyone who actually flew then at prey.

Still a popular pursuit in southern France, where I imagine the kestrels have the same DNA as ours? :lol: But seriously, your falconry experiences sound fascinating. Care to start another thread on the subject?

BJ

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Re: Kestrel

#194085

Postby sg31 » January 16th, 2019, 8:16 pm

bungeejumper wrote:
sg31 wrote:I've not seen kestrels used in falconry. I used to fly peregrine and lanner falcons, a buzzard and a Harris hawk many years ago and knew a lot of other people who kept raptors. Some did keep kestrels as birds they could use to teach their children with but I never knew anyone who actually flew then at prey.

Still a popular pursuit in southern France, where I imagine the kestrels have the same DNA as ours? :lol: But seriously, your falconry experiences sound fascinating. Care to start another thread on the subject?

BJ


It's a long time ago now. I lived in Lincolnshire at the time and hunted around the Coningsby area.

I was at one time going to develop a falconry centre a few miles in land from Skegness. I bought 15 acres of land and had planning permission, I arranged finance from the bank and was ready to go when the bank pulled the plug on the finance due to some recession or other in the early nineties.

It did for me for a while, I sold all my birds and immersed myself in building, a dream vanished and I've not flown a bird since. I've still got all my falconry gear packed away in the loft. I can bring myself to get rid of it.

Now I'm retired I did think of having another go but in this area it's all pheasant shooting and I don't think they would take kindly to me scaring all the game away. To be honest I still don't have the heart for it.

In a way It was probably a good thing things didn't proceed. Life's been reasonably kind to me, who knows what might have happened if things had gone ahead.


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