Home Rolf Hölterhoff Solingen

Reports 2001 – 2008

- Effective on September 1st, 2008 -

Thursday April 4th, 2001
During the hole winter time 2000/2001 I never watched any kestrel in or on our nesting box. Also walking spacious around my home or driving my car I never watched a kestrel yet neither flying nor sitting anywhere.

However some days ago I watched a hawk hunting within the city
kestrel in impetus  
close to the nesting box of the kestrels!
I think that this hawk will be the reason of the kestrel’s disappearance. It will be a specialist for chasing the kestrels when it has been concentrated in hunting a mouse and are watching down to the bottom in flight.

Yesterday a neighbour told me that he watched a kestrel sitting in our nesting box about 9 o’clock and besides he watched this birds on our steeple. I did not believe.

However at this morning about 9.10 hours I looked out of my window on the nesting box and had to took twice before I realized a kestrel sitting in the entrance of the box. He only 2 minutes stayed and then he winged away but this seems to be a good start. Hopefully the hawk will not realize this situation too!

Saturday April 7th, 2001
Apparently today a couple of young kestrels occupied the box. The birds paired, limited circling its nesting area and the male brought to the female some mice. Today suddenly the female fell down out of the box into the marsh zone of my ecological pond and returned to the box with a mouse in its claws. It looks very well at the moment. Hopefully the hawk will not appear!

Tuesday April 10th, 2001
Since two days the kestrels mate for many times a day on the ridge of the neighbour’s house and on the top branches of a spruce in the garden of a neighbour. It becomes more and more apparently that this young kestrel couple will brood in this year.

curious view out of the nesting case on June 27th, 2001  
Thursday May 10th, 2001
Apparently the female broods! It constantly lies deep on the bottom of the case and people can see it with binoculars only under trouble.
The female bird has been absolutely quite and takes turns with male for a short time quietly calling for the male which repeatedly brings a mouse for the female.

Monday May 28th, 2001
Definitely the female broods!

Wednesday June 26th, 2001
Returning from my holiday I realize two young kestrels sitting in the case. Just now they loose their first feathers. It looks very funny.
When they practise the muscles of their wings the loose feathers will blow out of the entrance.

and now numer 2 takes notice, too  
Saturday June 30th, 2001
The young kestrels for the very first time are sitting out of the case on the flat roof above the case.

out of the nesting box at the first time  
Tuesday July 3rd, 2001
The young kestrels practise the wings from the morning to the evening flying over the roofs of the close by houses and landing on branches of my big cedar.
The parents constantly bring mice as food.

Thursday July 7th, 2001
Since some day I do not see any kestrel. Apparently they finally left the case will be trained by the parents for hunting mice in the countryside around the city.
My best wishes will be with the birds. I am satisfied and a little bit happy; in this year the brooding has been successful.


Report 2002

There are no more kestrels…!

At the beginning of march 2002 a kestrel inspected the nesting box. As a sitting kestrel on the box has been as well as a brooding couple of kestrels in the box I soon looked forward to the brooding of this year. But the kestrel has been never seen during the hole year 2002. The case has been orphaned.

But a dreadful fact is that I never saw any kestrel sitting or flying anywhere in the hole countryside despite I craned my neck to see any kestrels when I was outside.
The disappearance of both of the old kestrels during the raising of the young ones in 2001 probably has been the symptom for the complete disappearance of these birds which has been not rare until now.
After a long period I only watched on April 1st, 2003 a one and only kestrel hunting over the slopes of our city autobahn.


Report 2003

This year there is less positive to report from Solingen.

In the first half-year of 2003 I watched a one and only kestrel hunting close to the city autobahn.
Apparently the population of kestrels reduced considerably. Even the nesting case on the wall of the neighbour’s house has been not occupied again however he has been occupied regularly during the last 15 years.

In march/april – at the beginning of the brooding season – a female house-owner tried to drive out a nesting kestrel couple from the ledge of her house ordering a roofer to close the entrance. The reasons for this decision has been absurd.

After a massive intervention of the city government the entrance has been opened again. Additionally the government place a nesting box on the brick gable wall.
If the house owner will close the entrance finally at the next year the kestrels will have the opportunity to occupy alternative the nesting box which has been fixed optimal.

At the start of July happened a kestrel tragedy in the city of Solingen.

The following newspaper report tells the readers about a young kestrel which crashed into a gleaming window glass sheet breaking its cervical vertebra. This always would be avoidable – regarding all different birds too! - if architects would not use gleaming glass sheets in order to meet foolish optical impressions!

Zeitungsartikel Solinger Tageblatt vom 01.Juli 2003

Quelle: Solinger Tageblatt vom 01. Juli 2003


Report 2004

In the first half-year of 2004 I watched only two times a one and only kestrel hunting close to the city autobahn.

On July 4th, 2004 however two kestrels circle lout crying out above our site for about one minute apparently inspecting the old nesting box which has been fixed on the wall of our neighbour’s house. Then they departed in direction of one of our close-by-valley Lochbachtal.

On July 5th, 2004 I watched by chance altogether 5 kestrels at the St.-Clemens-Church in the city of Solingen at high noon.
Perhaps there were 6 different birds either.
All of the kestrels not only did fly sure and well-directed but also they sailed very well controlled in the heavy squall of this day around the steep roofs of the church. Their landings on the crosses of both steeples has been safe on the first attempt although this action has been very difficult for the birds due to the filigree construction of the crosses. This clearly showed the flight safety which the birds earned already.
Without any doubt these young kestrels had been leave the nesting box which I fixed on a wall of the church years ago.
As I did not have available binoculars I was not able to realize the difference between the young kestrels and the adult birds.


Report 2005

They are back again!

I never watched a kestrel on a nesting box or around the nesting area within the period of time of report from 2004 until April 2005. In the far away area I watched occasionally a kestrel only. But in the mid-March I watched a couple of kestrels circling around very close to the river Rhein above the river meadow.

Tuesday, April 5th, 2005
around 14 hours I heard a kestrel crying lout when I walked on our street. The bird headed directly from the roof of a near-by house to the nesting box handing over a mouse to the female bird.
Since this time every day I watch one kestrel at least on the roof of the nesting box. The male bird hands over a mouse again and again to the waiting female. Both of the birds do conspicuous show flights between in visibility of the case. Today I watched two different kestrels high above the case heading to the south observantly watched by the kestrel on the box.

On Tuesday I realized that the nesting box at the Luther church in the city of Solingen has been occupied from a couple of kestrels too. The birds mated on the roof of the church.
I really hope that the kestrels will brood successfully again in this year in the near-by case. Just in this moment it looks very well.

Monday, April 11th, 2005
around 13 hours I watched on the St.-Clemens-Church in the city of Solingen a young male kestrel attacking the old owner of the nesting box and the occupied area. The attacker flies attacks without any interruption against the old male. Wherever the old one sits on the roof ridge of the church’s nave the young kestrel attacks with steep dive hunting it from the seat place forcing defence dog fights. Apparently the young one will occupy the area and take the female and drive out the old male. Probably I will become witness of a dramatic fight for the preserve in the “domain of the kestrels” which will come to a tragic end for the old hand.

Monday, April 25th, 2005.
Since the weekend the female lies crouching on the bottom of the box night and day. In the meantime the male hands over a mouse to the female again and again. Than the female wings to a close-by silver fir and eats the prey there. A very short time later it will be back in the case. The female broods!

Thursday, May 26th, 2005.
During hole the day the male carries a couple of mice which it presents to the female on the silver fir. Without any hesitation then the female wings into the case carrying the mice with itself. A short careful observation with the binoculars reveals that the female feeds the mice to its chicken. Today has be hatched out one chick at least!

Saturday, July 16th, 2005.
In the period around June 25th, 2005 altogether 5 young kestrels leave the case. Here we watch two young kestrels visiting the case on the beginning of July. Really a great brooding success!


Report 2006

Due to my change from Solingen-Merscheid to Solingen-Wald I did not have the opportunity to watch regularly the kestrels close to my old house for may times a day. I only was able to realize that 3 young kestrels at least successfully abandoned the case at the end of July 2006. Photos of the young kestrels have been not taken. Further successful broodings are not known as I by myself could not watch any different case in this area.

The report of the family Kling in Niederöfflingen/Eifel however shows the success of the brooding in this year clearly. Namely there the kestrels brood repeatedly in a optimised recess – a further ventilation hole for the attic.

The Kling family compiled the nesting place beneath the roof in the gable wall with a special entrance in the wall. The nesting place will be cleaned and provided with new wood chips and shavings after the young birds will leave the place. The birds express their thanks with regularly successful brooding. The Kling family took the photos which show the entrance in the gable wall and three young fledged kestrels in the niche.


Report 2007

This year 3 young kestrels left the nesting box at Solingen-Merscheid. I am sure. The photos show these three young kestrels who flew off on July/August 2007.


Report 2008

After checking some of the nesting boxes between 30.6.2008 and 2.7.2008 this was the result:

  1. There are at least 2 fledged young birds in the nesting box on the church at Solingen-Widdert.
  2. In the nesting box on the church at Solingen-Merscheid there for sure is an unknown number of young kestrels.
  3. The nesting box on the city church of Solingen seems to be unused. I did not see any kestrel there and there are no excrement traces.
  4. Also the nesting box on the St.-Clemens-Church in the city of Solingen seems to be not used. Neither I saw any kestrel there nor I noticed any excrements.
  5. In the nesting case close to the Merscheider Straße in Solingen-Merscheid I watched three young nearly fledged kestrels. As reported from a neighbour there however 4 young birds which left the case on July 4th, 2008.

  6. One of the parents just delivered a mouse and leaves the case now.

    The three young ones are looking out of the case watching the surroundings and waiting for more mice which will be delivered from the bird parents. Young kestrel no. 4 apparently sits in the rear part of the case and can not be seen just now.

  7. Close to the Friedenskirche in Düsseldorf on the ground people found this young kestrel. As nobody knows where the kestrels have their nesting place this one has been taken to the bird’s rescue station at Düsseldorf-Gerresheim. There the bird will be set free as soon as itself will be able to catch mice after training.
  8. Here this one some weeks later waits for his setting free which will be some days later.

  9. Within the greater area of the city of Stuttgart a family managed to settle a kestrel at the gable of her house. For that reason they opened the gable window of the house and fitted a nesting box inside the wall. However, a time before they established a small colony of house martins in artificial nesting caves under the jut out of the roof. This year a very well specialized kestrel succeeds in landing close to the entrance of the house martins caves and pulling out the friendly small birds. Fitting a special wire netting on the gutter now the attack of the kestrel is turned away. The wire netting has been far away enough from the wall and the nesting cases of the house martins. Therefore this birds are able to approach their cases without any difficulty despite of the kestrel which has to catch mice now. Please have a look at the photos for further information about the construction of the wire netting fence fitted on the gutter (see photos below).
  10. *****

Home bird's rescue · kestrels · kestrel nesting boxes top