Hello to baby kestrel chicks!

It’s spring and time for baby animals. This time it’s four kestrel chicks that have hatched at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve – and they are cute! Check out the Nest Cam to see the little fluff balls (they’ll be getting feathers soon!)

Mama and Daddy Kestrel both feed the chicks tiny pieces of voles and mice and those hungry chicks eat twice as much food as their parents. It’s not long before they get to practice eating on their own and within a month, they’ll be flying and learning to catch prey on their own. 

Kestrels are small, charismatic raptors, only about the size of a mourning dove when full-grown. They are experts at hovering, using the wind and their wings, tail and feet to hang suspended in the air like a helicopter while they scan the ground for prey. And, like most birds, they are more sensitive to ultraviolet light than “visible light,” allowing them to see urine trails from voles, mice and other potential meals. Amazing. 

Larisa Bowen, from The Nature Conservancy, describes the Preserve as ideal kestrel habitat

“Spanning 11 miles along the Lake’s eastern shore, the preserve is a mix of salt and freshwater marshes, ponds and mudflats that draw migratory shorebirds.

The preserve also offers hundreds of acres of uplands, open meadows, and grasses. A rich kestrel buffet thrives here—from insects and snakes to voles, mice and dragonflies and grasshoppers.

There are cottonwoods and willows in the riparian areas, which offer potential nest cavities and good crevices for the kestrel parents to stash away kills and save the food for later.“

Read the rest of a kestrel chick’s journey from egg to falcon here.