Kestrel Cam Live

We have had kestrels nesting in the kestrel box at Woods Mill for many years. Our nest box has helped our local kestrels consistently produce 3 or 4 chicks each year. We've always wanted to put a camera in the box to see what's actually going on in there and - thanks to the funding from ScottishPower Foundation - we can now proudly present Kestrel Cam 2018 as part of our Woods Mill 50th Anniversary celebrations. The nest box camera (and a lot of help with installation) was supplied by the great team at HandyKam. Our main priority is to help the kestrels successfully produce a family each year - but this small, unobstructive camera gives us the privilege of watching these amazing birds produce and raise their family.

Recorded Highlights

You can add your comments and questions below, please note that all posts are moderated so your post may not appear straight away.

This is part of Sussex Wildlife Trust’s celebration of 50 years at Woods Mill. Thanks to generous support from ScottishPower Foundation.

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  • Sam:

    25 May 2018

    There was the handover of a rodent at 10.16 today – 25 May – great example of the parents communicating and exchanging food

  • Michael Blencowe:

    25 May 2018

    Things should start getting mighty crowded in the nest very soon. At birth the chicks will weigh just 14-18g but this weight will double in just two days. By the end of the first week some of them could weigh over 100g. This incredible weight gain is typical for birds of prey. Meanwhile the female kestrel has started to lose weight. Almost every last bit of mouse, vole and bird being delivered to her by the male is fed to the chicks. This does mean that when she joins in the hunting in about 10 days she’ll be a bit more streamlined. (And while I was typing this a Turtle Dove was calling just outside the nest).

  • Michael Blencowe:

    24 May 2018

    The eggs hatched on 23rd May. We can’t see the chicks (they’re tucked in below the camera) but you can hear their cheeping! There were a few broken egg shells in the nest but the female has either disposed of (or maybe even eaten) these. For the next few weeks the female will stay with the chicks – and will still be brooding them. The male will be doing all the hunting. He wont be coming in to the nest yet – he’ll catch the food, call as he approached and then the female will leave the nest, pick it and return. Food can be stored by the entrance but will be discarded if its been there too long. Not sure how many chicks we have but things are going to get busy from now on.

  • Sam:

    24 May 2018

    They’ve hatched – listen for the squeaking – and you can see the egg shells they’ve discarded. Thanks Michael for the tip-off!

  • Chris Townsend:

    21 May 2018

    I’ve been watching and waiting every day (top job with the camera!) the eggs must be close to hatching any day soon, right? Papa & mama kestrel will be kept SO busy when the chicks make an appearance, so exciting!

  • Elizabeth Hindson:

    11 May 2018

    It’s great to see what happens in the nest box. Thank you Scottish Power.

  • Michael scaysbrook:

    10 May 2018

    That good news looking forward to seeing the baby’s

  • Don’t worry folks. The male is still about. At this stage in the proceedings the female is stuck on the nest incubating. She’s been getting hot in there during the recent heatwave and you can see her panting! The male’s got it easy – he’s out in the fresh air but he is returning to do his bit from time to time. I was leading a walk at Woods Mill last night and at about 7:30 he flew in calling and landed on top of the box with an evening meal (a mouse or a vole). She was off the eggs and out in a flash! – She snatched the food and flew off into the oak for some supper. She’ll use this time too for a bit of a stretch and a preen and toilet business. Meanwhile he jumped into the nest to guard the eggs until she returned. Wont be long until those chicks appear….then ‘pops’ will have his work cut out!

  • Michael scaysbrook:

    08 May 2018

    I haven’t seen the mate for a long time hope he is ok

  • Anna Herrieven:

    04 May 2018

    We’ve been watching all evening and haven’t seen her partner – she popped out to get herself a snack at 8’ish (she’s saving it on the side there for later) – but no sign of pops – has something happened to him?

  • Norma Ratcliff:

    03 May 2018

    Stunning birds a privilege to be able to watch them in their home. Thanks to all concerned who gave us the chance to watch such intimate moments.

  • Margaret Sheldon:

    03 May 2018

    Wonderful! So pleased you have obtained this funding, and what a good use for it. I shall be a regular visitor to the webcam. Not very nice if you are a vole………

  • Kestrels lay 4-6 eggs on alternate days so the whole egg laying process can around 10 days. At the moment I would guess she has 2/3 eggs underneath her in the nest. She’s still popping out now and then (to food, wash, preen) and when she does this the male (with the grey head) flies in to keep an eye on the eggs. Before the last egg is laid she’ll start incubating them full time – so she’ll be sat on the eggs for around 30 days. During this time he will be flying to feed her about 4 voles a day.

  • Phil:

    24 Apr 2018

    While building this page, in popped the kestrel! Fancy that!

  • The story so far. Our Kestrels stayed together throughout the winter and we observed courtship behaviour in early spring. Like many species courtship the involves the male passing food to the female to prove he’s a great provider and that this territory is a suitable rodent-packed place to nest. Throughout late March and April the female became increasingly inactive and sat on the nestbox ledge conserving her energy and building up her wait in anticipation of the next few weeks of being sat on the eggs. In the third week of April she started permanantly sitting on the nest located at the back of the box so we can assume that she is on eggs. Sitting here (just out of view below the camera) was always inevitable but our main priority is helping the Kestrels to produce a handful of chicks and we made sure we put the camera where it would not be an obstruction for them. We’ll see a lot more action in May when those eggs hatch.