On Wednesday last (23rd May), John Lusby, Raptor Officer with BirdWatch Ireland, ringed four Kestrel chicks at a site in Co. Kerry. The nest was an old Magpie's nest, about 25 metres (75 feet) up a mature Sitka Spruce. John tackled the climb with safety harness, ropes and ladder. There were four chicks in all, and two eggs (which were probably infertile). John weighed and measured the chicks before returning them safely to the nest. They were around 20 days old.
Video of the ringing of one of the chicks (M.O'Clery)
Kestrel chicks are much more feisty than Barn Owl chicks, and can make a bit of a racket while being ringed, so the aggressive instincts of this tiny predator are apparent even at this young age. John noted the ring number, weight, wing length and brood size.
Female Kestrel circling the nest site (M.O'Clery).
While the young were being ringed, the female circled, but once the chicks were carefully placed back in the nest they quickly returned to their normal routine.