Distracted by Common Kestrels

I’ve been spending way too much time watching the birdcams from Vogelbescherming’s Beleef de Lente site lately. Vogelbescherming is the Dutch BirdLife partner and Beleef de Lente roughly translates to Experience Spring.

There are six cams this season. I’ve been most interested in the pair of Common Kestrels (Torenvalken) raising six chicks. The sixth hatch was on 25 May so they should all fledge within about two weeks (typical fledge is 27 to 32 days).

Like the other cams on the site, highlights are mentioned on the left side of the screen so you can catch up on what was missed. The highlights for this nest were the laying of all six eggs (two days apart each) and the hatch dates (between 23 and 25 May).

Highlight videos are linked on the right side of the streaming cam. These are great to watch and sometimes there are cute or funny captions added by the webmaster. You can watch the chicks get ringed (zes torenvalken geringd), a Barn Owl ‘visiting’ the nest box (kerkuil komt weer kijken) and many more.

Common Kestrels get ringed in the Netherlands
eyas-napping in zes torenvalken geringd

Barn Owl visits Common Kestrel nest box in the Netherlandsa spooked visitor: kerkuil komt weer kijken

There is also a log below the cam which gives more details on the daily activities at the nest site / box. The kestrels are fed up to 30 mice per day so there is a lot of activity in the nest box throughout the day. Although both parents bring food to the chicks, typically the female does the feeding. When the male brings prey to the next box, the female usually pops into the nest within a few seconds. There is a cute video about this, too – watch man wil voeren, maar… (male wants to feed, but…).

I have a monitor in addition to my laptop screen so I keep the cam running on my small screen while I’m working at the computer. But the nest is so active and the chicks are so cute I constantly find myself watching these little birds when I should be working. In fact I just spent five minutes watching one of the chicks go through an elaborate yawn-and-stretch routine while I was writing this post. *sigh* In two weeks they’ll be gone and I’ll be able to get some work done. 🙂

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