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Kestrel facts

The kestrel is a bird most of us recognise as it hovers in the air with its sharp eyesight on its prey.

So sharp in fact, they can spot a beetle from 50 metres away. But beetles are not what they are looking out for. Their preferred meal is vole, and need to eat an average of 4 per day. Although they will take small mammals and birds or even worms. If they get lucky and find voles they will often cache them and eat them later in the day. They have also been known to use their speed and acrobatic ability to steal voles from owls. Not only is their eyesight super sharp, but they can also see ultraviolet light meaning they can detect the urine trail of small mammals making the super sophisticated hunting machines!

Kestrels like to lay their eggs in cavities of trees, walls and cliff faces. They don't build nests but have been know to use abandoned nests from other birds.

You will spot them hunting in open spaces and resting or nesting in woodland edges. They are not a common sight as they once were and I get very excited when I see these beautiful birds. The species are in decline due to changes in farming activities and secondary poisoning by hunting small mammals who have eaten rat poison and classified as Amber under the birds of conservation concern. So don't take it for granted when you see these powerful birds hovering in the wind. Take a moment to admire and enjoy.


Photos by Phil Blaxall



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I really enjoyed reading about the Kestrel. I was amazed at just how sharp their eyesight is.

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