A Kestrel on Fire

I am glad for the photo-op late in the evening, but I hope this was just a brief pause between murderings of voles who are a scourge of my garden. I haven’t seen kestrels or signs of them near my garden last year at all, but this year I have seen at least two individuals, and that is a good sign. The voles infestation used to be less severe when they were around regularly – when I often found their feathers and pellets of undigested food.

I never thought I will miss the times when I had fresh bird vomit in my garden all the time, but those really were the good times.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.


  1. says

    Crip Dyke, I am sorry to make you worried, it did not occur to me that the headline could be interpreted that way. It just came to me due to the color of the horizon in the background.

  2. kestrel says

    I would just like to say that I am not, in fact, on fire, but I do appreciate the concern! :-D

    Great photos, Charly!

    We have a lot of raptors in the neighborhood these days, including kestrels, because they are all moving in preparation for winter. Some have flown down from the North and will stay here, others are on their way further South. And of course we have resident raptors who stay here most of the time. This is a fascinating time of year for raptor watching.

    I have heard that encouraging owls to stay in an area is a good way to deal with voles and so on, but at this point in time I am not sure how to go about it… if you have the proper trees I am sure that would encourage owls, but trees take a terribly long time to grow! Although they say providing nesting boxes and good places to roost can help. Apparently voles are a barn owl’s favorite prey.

  3. says

    @kestrel, we used to have owls nesting in a huge spruce tree in our neibhour’s garden, and there were fewer voles around. But that tree had to be felled about a decade ago, because it was getting dangerous. And unfortunately, even more trees in the neigbourhood were felled this year during road renovations.

  4. Ice Swimmer says

    I’m hoping that raptors and owls will feast upon your voles, Charly!

    The streamlined form of the kestrel comes across nicely in the picture.

  5. Jazzlet says

    Glad you have at leasst some vole control. It would definitely be worth looking in to making an owl nesting box or several, my understanding is that a lack of suitable nesting sites is a significant factor in their population decline. A nature reserve near us has owl nesting boxes on posts in a lightly managed hedge, so not that high up, maybe a couple of metres at most, and certainly not in a large tree.

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