Thursday, June 21, 2012

Banding Kestrel Chicks

American Kestrel nestling ©HvHughes

Last March, PKM Electric Co-operative helped us put 10 kestrel nest boxes on retired utility poles and then installed them around the Agassiz Valley Water Resources Project impoundment and Agassiz Audubon property.

Ben Pahlen, Chris Derosier, Dane Hanson and Joe Marcotte

When the kestrels returned this spring, we had high hopes that they'd nest in our boxes.

American Kestrel on a power line © HvHughes
Aaron Wall and Ben Gubrud check nest boxes

We did our first nest check on June 5th:   5 eggs in one of our boxes!  Another had one egg.

Female with 5 eggs ©Ben Gubrud

On June 18th we checked again.  The box with one egg was a disappointment.  We could smell it before we opened the box.  The egg had been abandoned - and it was stinky rotten.

Abandoned kestrel egg ©HvHughes

The box with the five eggs was in good shape:   Five chicks!

Female Kestrel on 5 chicks ©Aaron Wall

Today we invited the news media and WAO school students to help Tim Driscoll, a raptor researcher from Grand Forks and John Loegering from the University of Minnesota, Crookston install leg bands on each of the chicks.   If these chicks return to nest here next spring, banding is the only way we can identify individual birds.

WDAZ reporter Lezlie Johnson tapes the action
Julie holds a kestrel chick while Tim puts on the band
WAO teacher, Marlys Swanson holds a kestrel chick

WAO students and teachers - and two of the reporters who came to cover the story got up-close and personal looks at the chicks before the birds were returned to their nest box, unscathed.

Katie Davidson, Crookston Times

Check out the story Lezlie Johnson filed... click here.

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