Industrial Kestrels 2016

Eurasian Kestrel
young bird

Shinano River, Niigata City, Japan

May 2016

 I was fortunate to find that the kestrel family again raised 3 young. It seemed to me they had left the nest early....late May. Usually I think it's been mid-June. I've been watching them at the same cement factory since 2005.  This time things looked a bit tougher. The adult bird (pictured below) seems to have lost its right eye. It still managed to fly off and return about 20 minutes later with prey.

The biggest concern to me this year was that all three young birds were spending most of their time on the ground. I've seen an old man alongside the river there feeding cats in the early evenings. 

I first found the kestrels on a Friday evening in late May, then checked them again on the Saturday and Sunday. Each day they were mostly on the ground searching for beetles in the grass. They looked cute but very vulnerable. One bird in particular wasn't distracted by the arrival of a parent bird with food. The other two flew up after the free feed but the one lone bird was playing with a large beetle on the ground.

I was busy for the rest of the week and didn't return until the following weekend. At that time there wasn't and hasn't been any more signs of the family. There were only cats. I can only hope the family moved on to a safer place.

Adult with injured eye.