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image from the live stream of the kestrel

26 Apr 2019

The kestrels return to campus

Kestrels have been nesting and breeding on campus for six years and thanks to the camera set up last year we know that the hen has returned and has laid five eggs.

There was a concern that the kestrels might not return.  Fortunately, this has not been the case and excitement is already building at the prospect of more cute kestrel chicks.

The University campus is a hub for wildlife, thanks to the dedicated work of the Sustainability and Grounds and Gardens team. Their management of biodiversity on and around campus is thought to be partly responsible for the successful breeding of the kestrels over the past six years.

Senior Arborist, Mark Hillman, has said that kestrels typically lay around four eggs and do not begin to incubate them until they have a full clutch. This is to avoid the eggs hatching at different times, which endangers the chicks’ chance of survival. If there are more than five eggs it is likely that not all will reach fledging age.

The hen lays an egg almost every day until she has a full clutch, and Mark commented that it will then be a “waiting game” as incubation is between 27-29 days.

The typical time for kestrels to lay their eggs is in late April or early May so our feathery friend is right on schedule.

To stay updated you can watch the live stream of the kestrels’ nesting box on the Sustainability team’s Youtube channel.