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Kestrel Dad Raises Chicks Alone After Mum Disappears | Full Story | Mr u0026 Mrs Kes | Robert E Fuller

Robert E Fuller

This is the story of Mr Kes, a kestrel who raised his six chicks alone after their mum disappeared. Male kestrels aren't known to brood chicks or feed them, but this remarkable kestrel father learned to do both.

Watch Mr & Mrs Kes interact live on my nest cam:    • Live From Fotherdale | Robert E Fuller   and follow their story in this playlist:    • Kestrels  Mr & Mrs Kes | Wild Lives ...  


You can support my wildlife rehabilitation and conservation work by donating here: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s... or joining one of my supporter communities: https://www.robertefuller.com/support...


Mr & Mrs Kes

The story begins full of hope as Mr & Mrs Kes, an established kestrel pair, start a new season and Mrs Kes lays a clutch of six eggs in Ash Stump, a nest box I designed just for them.

Nest intruders

But incubation proves hazardous as Mrs Kes is interrupted from her brooding to fight off jackdaws, barn owls and even a red kite threatening to invade the nest.

Chicks all healthy

Despite the drama, all six chicks hatch successfully. Mr Kes quickly adapts to his new role, hunting round the clock to provide food for his new family, while Mrs Kes takes to breaking up the food for the chicks.

Mrs Kes disappears

Suddenly, Mrs Kes' behaviour changes dramatically. Increasingly, she leaves the chicks alone in the nest for short periods. Then, when a tawny owl appears at the nest she is visibly shaken and after a second encounter with the owl she flies off, never to return.

Mr Kes finds his chicks alone

Mr Kes returns to the nest to find his chicks without their mother. He drops a vole on the nest floor but has no idea how to feed them. If they don’t eat soon, they’ll die.

Kestrel chick rescue

I decide to intervene. I open the back of the nest and check the chicks. Three are weak, so I bring them into my studio for some intensive care, but return the other three to the nest in the vain hope that Mrs Kes will return.

Mr Kes tries to brood

When I notice Mr Kes trying to brood the chicks later that day, something uncommon for male kestrels, it gives me an idea.

I support Mr Kes

I leave food out for Mr Kes in hopes that he will try to feed them. And then the impossible happens he tries to break up food for his young. Slowly this male kestrel learns to feed his chicks.

Rescue chicks

Meanwhile, I fed the younger three chicks six times a day and kept them warm indoors until they are ready to reunite with their wild siblings.

Family reunited

Eventually the three rescued chicks are ready to return to the wild. When I place them back in the nest their siblings look so shocked, but Mr Kes barely notices, he is so focused on feeding the brood!

Ringing day

It is finally time to give the kestrel chicks their ID rings and I am so proud. After such a difficult start, they had made it and were now ready to graduate to adulthood.

Time to fly

One by one, all six chicks finally spread their wings and lift off for their first flights and it feels amazing.

Mr Kes defied all the textbooks to raise this clutch on his own and, with a bit of help from me, all six chicks are still flying free!


I am a British wildlife artist and filmmaker on a mission to share my love for wildlife with the world. As well as creating detailed animal film and art portraits, I promote wildlife tours around the world and do all I can to help conserve and protect wildlife here at my home in Yorkshire. I hope that by putting nature in the frame I can foster a deep love for wildlife amongst my followers.

You may like to purchase my artwork which you can find on my website: https://www.robertefuller.com. Many of my paintings are portraits of the wonderful characters you watch here!

You can also follow me on these platforms:
Website: https://www.robertefuller.com
Facebook:   / robertefullerart  
Twitter:   / robertefuller  
Instagram:   / robertefuller  


00:00:00 Introducing Mr & Mrs Kes
00:00:31 House Hunting
00:03:31 Courtship
00:04:48 Egg Laying
00:08:25 Brooding the Eggs
00:12:50 Chicks Hatch
00:17:24 Mrs Kes Unsettled
00:21:10 Mrs Kes Disappears
00:22:48 Kestrel Chick Rescue
00:26:48 Mr Kes Broods Chicks
00:28:47 I Feed The Rescued Chicks
00:29:09 Mr Kes Tries To Feed
00:34:29 Mr Kes Defies The Odds
00:36:40 Family Reunion
00:41:25 Checking On The Chicks
00:42:46 Ringing Day
00:51:14 Chicks Fledge
01:00:58 A Unique Story

© Robert E Fuller

Copyright Disclaimer: Please feel free to share my videos but do not download any content without permission with the intent to reupload. If you would like to license any content, please get in touch: [email protected]

#robertefuller #kestrel #wildlives

posted by afiguradatb