self-catering apartments in a Suffolk Farmhouse
We were all so excited when we realised that our young kestrel chicks were about to fledge. Over the last few weeks, there had been bits of feather and wings poking out the nest hole. Gradually, one by one they emerged from the dead tree until all 3 sat side by side on the broken branch by the nest. Whilst they were still in the nest there had been lots of “Kee Kee Keeing” and many too and fro’s by the parents with food, but this was our first glimpse of the chicks.
How sweet they looked, perched on the branch together, so cute and charming. But don’t be fooled – Hear no evil, Speak no evil Think no evil is the phrase that comes to mind! What little monsters they proved to be! They emerged from the nest looking, and behaving like 3 little Harry Enfield “Kevins” – grumpy and sullen!
Like human teenagers, it took them a long time to find their wings, crashing about and shouting in the trees. Then they would sit around waiting for a parent to come back with some food. On hearing said parents announce their return, all 3 little hooligans would fly towards the supper-laden adults, screaming their heads off. Whoever got there first snatched the meal away and left as fast as possible. The other 2 rained retribution down on the hapless parent pecking their head and screaming with rage.
This behavior went on for about 2 weeks. The adolescent kestrels then moved off to find their own perches, (one outside my dining room window). From there they would sullenly sit and survey their domain. Occasionally calling out to demand food from the hard pressed parents who rushed round finding the next meal for the youngsters. Their behavior reminded me so much of Harry Enfields creation “Kevin” I can see why Kestrels only rear one brood a year, what a thankless task. It is amazing that they want to repeat the process at all, but maybe, they have terrible memories, avian amnesia, which ensures the survival of the species.