The Yawning Kestrel


Kestrel chick

Kestrel chick looking out of the nestbox

This year Kestrels have again nested at my workshop – using the Barn Owl nest box.  About a month ago I had thought I heard the smallest chick sounds, and since they have got louder, and the stomping in the box more frequent.  In fact, these chicks have been the noisiest I have known – really screaming for attention – I can hear them from the lane before I arrive.

Kestrel chicks

Two Kestrel chicks peering out of the nest box

Only yesterday I learned that there are at least three.  Two are quite bold and are happy to sit in the nest box entrance watching me, the other one just showing a beak.  Mind you, there’s not much room at the entrance, so they seem to take it in turns to look out and call urgently to the parent birds for the next meal.

Three Kestrel chicks

You can just see the beak of the third Kestrel chick emerging at the feet of the other two

There’s lots of stretching, scratching, and preening going on – all signals that a first flight is going to be very soon.  Of course, this is a tiring business, growing and preparing for launching into the sky, and sometimes the best thing is a quick snooze.

Yawning Kestrel chick

The Kestrel chick yawning

Initially, I thought that the open beak was the beginning of another shrill calling bout, or for preparing to regurgitate a pellet, but on each occasion it happened, the bird closed its eyes and appeared to have a short sleep.  It was, I think, a yawn!

Snoozing Kestrel chick

And after the huge yawn, the Kestrel chick has a snooze


What an experience it is to watch these young kestrels.

One of the very first sculptures I ever carved in stone was a Kestrel and it may be time to make another based on this characterful family.

photos of my Kestrel sculpture

Kestrel sculpture







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