Into the Big World

A parting gift

This is a follow-up to my Little Faces post. Remember the one about the kestrels we had nesting in the cavity of the old tree in our front yard? I updated their development on my Facebook page so this will be familiar to some of you. About ten days after that post the little faces changed pretty quickly. They lost a lot of their fuzzy baby feathers.

Just days before leaving the nest

On June 29th, the day of our garage sale, the first chick left the nest. We just walked out to the road and there she was sitting on the wire that swings across the road and attaches to the house. She did a lot of preening, guess those new feathers were a bit itchy, and then she took a big step toward flying. But it only ended up being a step. We caught the approach, the step, the wingspread and then, she sat back down. Later we found her sitting in the tree so I guess the wings worked.

The parents now were even busier than before because this little gal didn’t know anything about hunting yet so they had to feed the remaining nestlings and the recent evacuee, who moved around from the wire to the tree to the telephone pole. Four days later the second one decided it was time to see the big world.

Then there were two.

These two didn’t sit conveniently together all of the time so the parents had three mouths to feed in three locations. But not for long because the third one joined his siblings on July 4th.

Number three.

We spent the rest of the day trying to get a shot of the three of them together. Usually we could see one or two together but the third would be out of sight. Or all three would be near each other but the leaves on the tree wouldn’t cooperate. A slight breeze could easily hide one or more from view. Finally all three squeezed into our viewfinder.  We have circled them for your convenience.

One – two – three!

For a few weeks we would see them all on the wires along the road. Sometimes with one or both of the parents. Flying was getting much easier and the young ones would take longer and longer flights. We never witnessed them hunting but this would be the time the parents would be teaching that necessary skill. Now we hardly ever see them and never all together. I just took a walk out to the road and way down past the second telephone pole sat one kestrel, waiting and watching for an unwary mouse in the field. It has been a fun summer, hope they move back in next year.

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