Juvenile Plumage Reveals One Female Kestrel Chick, Three Males – July 10, 2018
Now that the American Kestrel chicks are well on their way to developing their juvenile feathers, it's easy to see which is a female and which is a male (American Kestrels are sexually dimorphic in their plumage, even as juveniles). Check out the birds' wings for a quick clue about who's who. Males have slate-blue wings with a rusty back; females’ wings are reddish brown overall on their back and wings. From the looks of it, the eldest chick (with the most fully developed plumage) is a female, and the youngest three chicks are males!
Watch the cams live at www.allaboutbirds.org/cams
The American Kestrel cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab or Ornithology and the Raptor Resource Project.
Four downy American Kestrel nestlings are tucked into a gravel-bottomed nest on private property near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The nest box is located on the side of a traditional limestone-footed barn, overlooking a rolling grassland that slopes away into folded hills and forests. Our partners at the Raptor Resource Project have watched kestrels breed at this site for over 25 years, and the wonderful combination of grassland, forest, and water that surrounds the property is an excellent example of the habitat that kestrels need to survive and thrive. Watch cam.
The young birds began hatching out of their eggs on June 14th, and the remaining egg in the nest is unlikely to hatch at this point. Over the next 3-4 weeks the nestlings will transform from downy bobbleheads to sleek, dull versions of their parents on a diverse diet of invertebrates, small mammals, and birds (watch this highlight of the female feeding the young). After fledging, the young will continue to be cared for by their parents, remaining near the nest as they learn to hunt and master flight.
Don't miss the outside view! A second camera has been installed to give views of the nest box opening from the outside so viewers can observe the kestrels' comings and goings, as well as the nestlings once they begin peering outside. To toggle between the two camera views, click the "switch camera" icon in the lower right of the livestream player, next to the settings wheel.