Finally, the cold weather has ceased and it feels like spring might actually come to Saskatchewan this year!! Taking advantage of the balmy weather Kristen and I zipped out to our American Kestrel boxes around the city and did some spring cleaning. We opened up the boxes and pulled out the old cedar chips and replaced them with fresh new chips. We also replaced a few boxes that needed repair, as well as added a few new boxes to our kestrel box trail.
All in all it was a fun way to spend a Saturday in the sun!
I am always amazed at how dirty the inside of the kestrel boxes get! Something you don't think to much about when your talking about regular stick nests is the mess in the nest - typically there really isn't any! This is because the young birds very early on, know that when they poop they are suppose to shoot it over the edge of the nest. Then the adults also remove any pellets the young birds regurgitate. In a nestbox or natural cavity with kestrels though, can the young birds really poop over the edge of the nest?... not really. They seem to have the same sort of drive to poop over the edge but with the side of the box right there, it doesn't really work. And well, when you open up the box, or take a look at the photo below you can see what I mean. Usually the sides of the box are plastered with bird droppings! Sometimes its even on the inside roof of the box!!! I'm not entirely sure how they aim it all the way up there! The parents also, do not seem to clean the box of regurgitated pellets either. Overall, kestrel boxes are messy!
Anyhow, just something to think about! It won't be long before the birds will be back and using these boxes.