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At home in a hay shed

August 14, 2015

IMG_2046Nankeen KestrelIt may be only an ugly old corrugated iron hay shed to us, but a beautiful Nankeen Kestrel has adopted it as home. When we were collecting bales from the shed the other day, a kestrel suddenly landed on a protruding roof beam and stared at us for a few seconds from about 6 metres away, before flying off. The kestrel has since proved difficult to photograph – the picture below was taken a couple of years ago atop a dead tree some hundred metres from the hay shed.

Inside the shed we found streaks of whitewash excrement down a post in the corner, and on a corrugated iron sheet below there were dozens of regurgitated pellets, showing that the kestrel has been using the top of the post as a roost for some time. The pellets were of various colours, consistencies and composition, reflecting the bird’s varied diet of rodents, skinks, ground birds and many insects and other invertebrates.

The Nankeen Kestrel is a small falcon that lacks the speed of other falcons, relying instead on its superb hovering skills to locate and watch prey on the ground, before diving headfirst to catch it (unlike the Black-shouldered Kite, another skilful hoverer, that drops on its prey feet first).

The Nankeen Kestrel is nomadic and part-migratory, with some birds moving north for winter. We have recorded kestrels here in June/July in 8 of the last 15 years. Its shrill call recorded locally can be heard by clicking on the audio bar below.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Susan permalink
    August 14, 2015 11:03 am

    Great detecting with evidence of habitat! We have a Kestral that sits on top of a gum tree near the dam. A photo has been taken!

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