– First of all the most important information –
First of all we have to offer to kestrels and other birds of prey some small pieces of flesh from the heart or liver of a cow bought from a butcher's shop, if the birds are willing or able to eat independently.
The offered pieces of flesh should be the size of a finger nail and should be warmed up to body temperature using warm water or a microwave. Then they ought to be offered with blunt tweezers or a blunt toothpick so as not to harm the bird.
Kestrels are hemerophile birds, thriving in habitats under cultivation. Due to modern straight buildings with their plane and reflecting fronts the birds lack nesting opportunities. Fortunately however it is easy to support the birds. Solidly manufactured special nesting boxes are readily accepted.
It is very important, though, that the nesting boxes hang as high as possible at a minimum of about 12 m above the closest flat or sloping suface (ground, flat roof, nave, transept of a church). Walls of great industrial buildings, churches or residential building without any windows are quite suitable. Apparently brick built walls are irresistible to kestrels as the feather's colour of these birds correspond with the colour of the brick wall, so nobody will notice the birds sitting on their nesting boxes or a protrusion. Only a well-trained eye for kestrels will be able to discern them there. The birds seem to realize this instinctively, especially with regard to their natural enemies.
During the last about 25 years I installed about 50 nesting boxes for kestrels around the Köln-Düsseldorf-Solingen area. I reckon about 100 young kestrels to leave their nests every year. Nearly all the boxes are occupied. For documentation you may have a look at the my page statistics.
Of course I will support everybody who likes to introduce kestrels to his area. Proposals and instructions for the construction of nesting boxes can be found on the page "Instructions for the construction of kestrel nesting boxes".
Soon a lot of years ago I fixed 2 nesting boxes on the wall of buildings located in
the immediate vicinity of the Merscheider road. Both of the boxes are only 10 m far
of each other and were the initial attempt to introduce 2 couples of kestrels as colony
The first fitted box (left hand below) on the eastern located wall of a built house has been occupied at the first time about 23 years later. There flew off 5 young kestrels. Some years later were fitted an additional box on the west wall of a slated house opposite the build wall. Amazingly the local kestrel couple occupied this case soon despite this one is located close to an often human used balcony, exposed extremely to the noise of the main street and the entry which shows to the west (side of the most frequent rainfall). Additional to this situation the box heated up extremely during some sunny summer days. Soon 5 young kestrels flew off at the first brood attempt. Apparently the extreme noise of the Merscheider Strasse drowned the baby bird's beggar calls. Probably this criterion will be the reason for the selection of this nesting place by the brooding couple of kestrels.
|A kestrel's nesting box decorates one of Solingen's landmark - the protestant city church at Fronhof. In order to maintain the church's optical impression mister H.-J. Martin, Solingen, made available a case made to measure which exactly corresponds with the dimensions of the bell's window above the clock face showing to the eastern side of the church. The catholic St. Clemens church owns her kestrel's nesting box. The photo shows the church in 1998 behind the big hole in the ground over which the Clemens galleries raises now. Again I cleaned and impregnated this bred box about the anniversary of the millennium on the occasion of the brick wall's renovation. Around the church has been putted up scaffolding for this work.|
|Regarding the nesting success in different churches of Düsseldorf city the priest of the Dietrich-Bonhoeffer-Church at Düsseldorf-Garath contacted myself and requested to create a possibility for the nesting of kestrels at the steeple of her church if this would expect success. A check of the steeple and the surrounding area expected success. As soon as possible two nesting boxes should be fitted. However the kestrel team has had not the possibility to construct the usual expensive nesting boxes just in time. Therefore has been sold two of the well known and solid Schwegler-nesting boxes for kestrels. The whole costs has been paid by the parish. Simply the steel sheet fitted mountings of the approach rod has been replaced with stainless steel. (continue)|
Also the parish priest arranged the fitting of the nesting boxes by the local fire brigade as nobody could foresee when a scaffold would be putted up around the church for maintenance works in the future. So the crew of a fire engine appeared at the church on a late saturday morning. There as agreed the parish priest and the both men from Solingen waited for firefighters; both men from Solingen has been generously entertained with coffee and cake by the parish priest.
With a fitted dolly the hydraulic fire ladder has been extended to her maximum altitude and the two nesting boxes has been fitted on different walls of the steeple. The success were as much incredible as nobody of the persons present surely will forget: a firefighter was in the dolly yet and the hydraulic fire ladder has been retracted only half of the length of her maximum altitude as soon a couple of kestrels several times circled the steeple in a distance of about 5- 10 m and watched the nesting boxes! (hö)
The colour of the nesting case has been adapted to the colour of the steeple’s wall. The case has been installed at one of the both steeps high enough to cause dizziness. The ascent up to the steep has been exhausting despite of the goods lift’s use.
|The photos show myself (closed with the red overall) together with my right hand Mister R. Rösch from
Köln. We stand on the scaffold of the St.-Antonius-Church close to the goods lift scattering the bottom
of the nesting case with shaving wood. (Behind the camera: Mr. H.-J. Martin).
Soon in the next nesting season a couple of kestrels occupied this case. Apparently the great altitude above the ground level and the good visibility has been the reason for the fast occupation.
|Just round the corner northern of Wehrhahn/Kölner Straße close to the Rochus market has been located the
Rochus church which is famous of her extraordinary nave.
Here the nesting case has been not fitted on the outside of the wall but above the clock (very high up close to the roof) matching the window-bay. Repeated the case has been occupied by kestrels. During the spring of 2001 a couple of falcons (falco peregrinus) occupied the case and there flew off 4 young ones.
Doing the assembly of the nesting case the visibility from the kestrel’s point of view compensates for the trouble of this work.
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