Tuesday, July 29, 2008

American Kestrels

This summer a pair of American Kestrels nested in a old Elm tree just off our property. Three young ones soon appeared perched on the dead broken off branches of their nesting tree. For several days they stayed close to the nest and bounced around from one branch to another as the adults made numerous trips with nourishment. Pictured above are four members of family, one was flying look out nearby and trying to get me to follow away from the nest area.

I was surprised after I downloaded some photos to the computer to see this young kestrel was being pestered by a bee (not really sure if a bee). I had watched this kestrel not really able to fly yet, maneuver around the tree trunk using some vines for support and making its way to the top, evidently it was trying to get away from the insect!

Now the young kestrels are flying and exploring the area on their own. You never know where you might see them perched, on a bird house, tall tree, telephone lines by the road or any place that gives them an advantage! It is a thrill to watch them hunt our backyard field. They are so keen, I only need to open the house door and step out and you can hear their "klee-klee-klee", "killy, killy, killy" as they all scatter to the trees. I have heard they will take small birds but have (thank goodness) yet to witness such a feat. I have seen the adults perch near the bird houses where tree swallows have nested, the swallows dive bomb them, but the kestrels just sit there bobbing to avoid a hit, unfazed and leave only when they are ready.

Click here to read more about Kestrels and hear their sound!

It certainly has been a treat to watch these magnificent falcons this summer and hope it will be repeated year after year! Enjoy :) Coppertop

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Maine Wildlife Babies

Here in Maine it has been a rainy summer thus far. One can't help but wonder the toll it is taking on the wildlife newborn. The above photo of a wild turkey hen shows she only has one chick in her care. This was the first and only sighting of this hen and chick. Past years we have seen turkeys with anywhere from four to a dozen chicks per hen.

We have six bird house in our field that the tree swallows use each year. Three houses provided shelter for three families. Right now we do have a pair of Bluebirds that have taken up housekeeping in one of the houses. The female is setting on four beautiful blue eggs and hopefully they will all hatch out.

We have been honored with a pair of Kestrels nesting nearby also this year in an old elm tree. The male can be seen hunting the field for insects and such and carrying back to the opening. I have yet been able to get close enough to capture a nice photo of the adult kestrels. Should not be long and the young ones will be leaving the nest as the male is making quite frequent trips back and forth now to the nest with food.

Just yesterday I watched a female goldfinch gather wood slivers off our cedar fence as a male sat nearby. Hmm - female does all the work while male watches! :)

We have been seeing a female white tail deer in our field for quick visits just before dark and hopefully we will soon get a glimpse of her fawn(s). We have seen this in past years where a doe with browse the field for short times, on alert and listening to the woods the whole time. We always assumed a fawn is hid in the woods or nearby and sure enough we are treated with a sighting when Mom feels it is safe for them. Hopefully soon we will see a fawn or two and I will be able to share some photos with you!

Enjoy your 4th of July weekend and be safe :) Coppertop