This is the third year we've had kestrels in this box by the house. Before we painted & repaired the place they used to nest in a hole some ancient flicker had made in the clap boards. I put this up and they moved right in.
Kestrels are in decline. They are N.America's smallest & most colorful falcons. They eat small animals. Mice, shrews, voles, etc. The adults feed three to four voles/day to each chick and continue feeding them foe a couple of weeks after they leave the nest.. They have four to five chicks per year,
Click to enlarge for best effect.
There were four of them
My old friend Jim Anderson from Bend came by and banded them. Jim was my mentor when I was a teenager and the reason for many of my interests. Ecology, wildlife photography and flying to name a couple.
We got them just as they were ready to leave and missed one as it "flew the coop" that morning.
I replaced them after banding, but Jim's grandson took them out as my hand was to large to fit through the hole with a bird in it. I have plans to add a door to the side of the box as well as a small "bird cam" I picked up from a guy in Oregon City.
Lots of photo ops the next day when they flew.
I had time to take one shot of the pair. I looked away and one was gone, but this is my favorite shot.
Two of the barn hives swarmed in the afternoon yesterday. I first saw a small swarm on an apple tree when I got home & started to get ready to collect it when it flew. I think it was a swarm from the hive in the swarm trap that was sitting in the barn, because it wasn't very large, and it looked like they may have even gone back into it as they were all around it. Shortly afterwards Theresa saw a swarm in a wild plum tree where they have landed before. This was considerably larger and because of the reduction of activity today in the Langstroth hive by the barn, it probably came from there. This hive was from a cut out I did on the barn wall last year right after they moved in..
They collected up above the higher ladder first. I didn't get the queen and they left the box and reformed lower down to the right.
Dropped a few on the way down.
I carried it down and shook them into the box. This time I got the queen inside and the rest followed.
I then moved the hive about a half mile away so that the workers wouldn't be tempted to drift back to the original hive. In a couple of weeks I may bring it back. There were a lot of bees. When I lifted the inner cover to add several frames, it was pretty heavy.
The hive in the second story wall is still going strong having made it through another winter.
And the swarm trap by the north pond still has bees. That's two winters in a row they have survived with no attention other than checking with the Flir in winter to see if the box is still hot. I'm leaving this one alone to cast swarms.
View from the bottom. The white spot is a bee. The boxes hold six deep frames. I set out two more today, both with a frame of old brood comb that had a little honey in the corners, and five empty deep frames.
I'm sure that if Europe's ban passes, the chemical companies will soon come up with pesticides that are not so broad spectrum and are more pollinator friendly. Until then, why should they bother? Sure, it will be harder for the farmer until they do, but perhaps we should look more to the future. The world is changing, and not always for the better. If we continue relying on chemicals, shortly we will be pollinating by hand as they are currently having to do in parts of China. Then imagine the cost of harvest. (The decline of wild bees in China threatens more than just its apple and pear harvests, says pollination expert Dave Goulson)