Posted by: atowhee | November 29, 2019


Twice in recent days my wife and I have seen male/female pairs of American Kestrels close together, today the pair was flying around together at Jow Dancer.  We also saw a little recreational aggression when one dived on a flicker passing over an open field.  Here’s a meager scrap of insight from BNA Online: “In nonmigratory or partially migratory populations, pairs sometimes remain associated during winter…”

Cornell’s All About Birds adds a bit more grist: “Kestrels compete over the limited supply of nesting cavities with other cavity-nesters, and sometimes successfully fight off or evict bluebirds, Northern Flickers, small squirrels, and other competitors from their chosen sites.”

Here’s what I surmise based on no data.  There is a lot of competition for nest cavities large enough to hold a kestrel nest, basically an occasional flicker hole, natural tree cavity where some interfering human hasn’t decided to cut off the damaged limb, or a nest box with a hole of the right size, and in the right place (not in the middle of a dense forest). The kestrel pair cannot make their own nest site, they have to find and claim.  Though nesting won’t happen for months, an effectively procreative pair would do well to claim a territory with good nest cavity ASAP.  At Joe Dancer last winter there was a resident, possessive pair.  This may be the case again.

At Wennerberg this evening we saw a flock of over 100 robins, feeding on the playing fields and the nearby grassy farmland.

BTW, here is Cornell’s website with nest box plans fit for kestrel if you live where they might nest.

It is known that Downy pairs may reunite briefly in winter as they cling to perimeter of a territory where they nested successfully the previous year. Could be a little of that–“Hey, you still interested?  Up for another go?”


  1. Good information on the challenges. Thanks for posting Cornell’s nest box building plan resource.

  2. […] At the north end of Marsh Lane the local kestrel pair were hunting together.  Click here for my earlier blog on paired kestrels  in November. […]

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