The 'StrawBale Squad' - Kestrels

Oct. 2014

The Straw bale squad. Found in a shipment of straw which had travelled many miles, the nest of kestrels were just a few days old when taken in.

It was many months before the straw bale squad were mature enough to face the big wide world but all were returned successfully to the wild.

Below are pictures of them in the various stages of growth and some 'action shots' of their release, once again, it's a case of spot the bird!

They went in a 4, 2,1. A spectacular flying display was given, complete with hovering. I managed to not get most of it on camera! Food was put out on the hack table to see if they came back for tea.

Was amazing to see 4 of them almost instantly start to soar. What a wonderful sight

The straw bale squad (+2). Well on their way. Now impossible to get a photo of them all due to aiming through the view hole in their release aviary. These were the last photos before they were free to go.

Straw bale squad now moved into a secluded flight before moving into a secluded aviary to get ready for release. Notice anything different?
The straw bale squad now perching, tearing their own food up and showing a healthy fear of humans. Its getting tricky to get them all in shot through the view hole. Almost fully feathered.
Straw bale squad feathering up.
Straw bale squad update - all chicks are now feeding themselves. They had been moved into a hospital unit where one side can be cleaned out and food added and then the chicks can move over when slide is removed.
The chicks were no longer being handled at all and all human contact was kept to a bare minimum.
Pictures are not very good as were taken through a spy hole. P.S. it was diced rat for tea!!
In June wecollected these gorgeous babies. A clutch of 5 kestrels, aged about a week and very lucky.
They travelled from Lincoln to Wasall, nest and all, on a bale of straw. They were fortunate the farmer heard them whilst stacking the bales.
The small one was a little weak but they were feeding well and very noisy.
The trick was not to imprint them before they were returned to the wild.