Last week our local Lincolnshire Wildlife lady Donna, came to check our nest boxes around the farm, looking for any owls and kestrels with young. Unfortunately numbers seem to be down so far this year, Donna thinks this is due to it appearing to be a bad year for small mammals as most rodent-eating species seem to be having small clutches of eggs and consequently smaller broods of young if they are breeding at all.
We did find two kestrel chicks at a next box at the farmhouse, there was one egg in the nest above the garage and the 2 young that Donna ringed (see photos above) so presumably the female laid just 3 eggs. Donna estimated that the young are about 2.5 – 3 weeks old and will be in the nest about 2 more weeks based on their feather growth. Bird ringing is a technique used in the study of wild birds, by attaching a small individual numbered metal or plastic tag to their legs or wings.
The female kestrel would normally lay 4 – 6 eggs and incubate them for about a month. After hatching then she will brood them for about 2 weeks. After that time then both the male and female will hunt for food for the young and the young fledge after about a month before being dependent on their parents for about another month after they fledge.
Although we didn’t find any owls nesting we have seen a barn owl roosting in one of the sheds in the farmyard so we will have to keep fingers crossed for the barn owls and hope they have a late nesting attempt.
There is an abundance of varied wildlife to be seen from the lodges, around the farm and the surrounding area for guests staying on their holidays here at Rural Roosts. We have a great bird-hide overlooking one of our wetland areas and there are walks around the farm, fantastic for twitchers and wildlife lovers.