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Kestrels Face Tough Decisions To Ensure Chicks Survive

Robert E Fuller

Kestrels, Apollo and Athena, are caring for five tiny hatchlings. It’s been a cold and dry spring at Ash Wood, so prey items are in short supply and the kestrels face their biggest challenge yet... to ensure the survival of their brood!

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It’s the role of the male kestrel, Apollo, to hunt and bring in food, while the chicks are so young. Athena, the female’s role is to brood the chicks, carefully feed them and defend the nest from intruders, such as a barn owl and interfering jackdaws.

But, despite their best efforts the youngest chick dies of hunger. It’s heart breaking to watch. Athena decides to join Apollo in the search for food and she tries to balance the need to keep the chicks both warm and well fed. It’s a tough decision to have to make. The chicks could easily die if they get cold too.

Small birds such as sparrows and blue tits are brought in and fed to the kestrel chicks, it’s quite unusual as their favourite food is rodents. It’s clear that these must be in short supply this year.

The parents are away for such long periods, the chicks are getting cold and don’t look well. Tragedy strikes again when a second chick seems to be struggling.

Robert is not willing to let another chick die without a fight, so heads up to Ash Wood to see if he can help. But sadly, the second chick just doesn’t make it.

Apollo & Athena now have fewer mouths to feed, and Robert is able to lend a helping hand, by putting food into the nest. Soon, the chicks are looking healthy again.

Apollo & Athena have worked so hard, facing their biggest challenge yet. They’ve had to make difficult decisions, balancing the need to keep the chicks either warm or fed. But thanks to their determination, and with a little help from Robert, these 3 chicks have survived and they’re well on their way to becoming strong young kestrels.

#robertefuller #kestrels #livefromashwood

I am a British wildlife artist based in Thixendale, North Yorkshire, UK. I build ideal habitats to encourage wildlife into my garden and use nest cams to study their behaviour. These studies inform my paintings. I share the best of my video research on this channel for free. If you would like to support my work please consider a small donation here: https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s...'>https://www.paypal.com/donate/?cmd=_s...

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© Robert E Fuller

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