07172017 American Kestrel - 1
On Monday, July 17th, Lisa Yates called me and asked if I could pick up a baby Kestrel in New Haven at the Home Lumber complex. After driving to the site and going to Building 7, I was met by my contact person. He told me that he now had two Kestrels to be taken. They had found a second baby. The two had been placed in a small box, so he transferred them to my larger cardboard box.
Seeing the babies for the first time, I could see that both babies had just a small amount of down. Most of their down had been replaced with flight feathers so it was easy to see that they were sisters. Both were lying on their sides, very still, as though they were near death.
I drove out to the Pine Valley Veterinary office to drop them off with Dr. Pat. I told Pat that the two birds had "no spunk". Then she reminded me that babies use this facade as a survival mechanism in the wild. She checked their crops and all was well.
I commented to Pat that, in my five years as a volunteer, I had never seen Soarin' Hawk with so many orphaned Kestrels. She agreed. She estimated that we have taken in around 17 Kestrels this year. We are late in the season now, so with any luck, the end is near.
This is late in the year to have kestrels this young. It is possible this is the second nest of eggs for a pair of adult kestrels. If it is a warm, early spring, often birds will produce two groups of babies. Or if something happened to the eggs or the babies, the adults may start another clutch. Luckily these two female orphaned kestrels are in good shape- excellent weight and not dehydrated. No injuries were found on either one. They readily ate small pieces of meat and will be given whole prey cut in small pieces. Within a couple weeks they will probably be tearing up whole mice by themselves and be moved to a flight pen.
This kestrel is doing great! It is in a flight pen with other kestrels. We will make sure it can catch live prey before being released.