Film | Rescued Kestrel Now Ready For Family Of His Own | Jeff & Jenny


This is the story of Jeff, a young male kestrel who lost his mother when he was just days old and is now preparing for a family of his own. 

Jeff the Kestrel

This particular kestrel is very special to me. He was the youngest of a clutch of six kestrel chicks I rescued last year and I’ve followed his story closely.

Mr & Mrs Kes

Jeff’s parents, Mr & Mrs Kes were known to be a caring couple, but their world fell apart when Mrs Kess suddenly disappeared, possibly due to illness. The chicks were too young to survive and I took the weakest three – including Jeff – into my care.

Single Kestrel Dad

Once Jeff and his siblings were old enough I returned them to the wild nest. Male kestrels are not known to feed or brood their chicks but Mr Kes defied convention and took to the role admirably. More on the story here: https://www.robertefuller.com/diary/kestrel-dad-learns-how-to-dad/

Favourite Chick

As the chicks grew, it was easy to pick Jeff out. He was always up front at mealtimes and his cheeky character meant he quickly became my favourite.

Kestrels Fledge

But when, one by one, Jeff’s siblings learned to fly and dispersed, Jeff was slow to follow. He was the last to fledge – watch him get an encouraging final feed from me – and then never left the territory.

Confusion

Jeff’s continuing presence caused some confusion and for a while Mr Kes, who was ready to begin courting again, mistook him for a female. Not much is known about inbreeding in kestrels and so I followed their interaction with interest. Neither kestrel attempted to mate, but their behaviour was odd..

Juvenile Kestrels

Male juvenile kestrels don’t get their distinctive grey/blue feathering until they are almost a year old and so it wasn’t until I was able to get a good reading of Jeff’s ID tag that I realised he was a male!

Jeff Matures

On the 4th of May, Jeff turned one-year old. This is the age at which kestrels are ready to begin families of their own.

Awkward Courtship

But whilst Jeff was old enough to court, he had a lot to learn and the first female he attracted he chased away!

A New Female

It wasn’t too long, however, before Jeff mastered his technique and I spotted him offering a new female a mouse as a gift. This was a good sign the relationship could work and I named his new mate Jenny.

Kestrel Courtship Bows

For kestrels, male courtship displays involve bowing and Jeff was so enthusiastic he looked like his head may fall off!





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