Kestrel eggs are hatching here in Ulster County. I inspected two boxes yesterday at the Shawangunk Grasslands and they had chicks between 4-8 days old. In the first one, all 5 eggs hatched, but there were still two eggs left in the second one along with 3 nestlings. It is likely those remaining 2 eggs will not hatch. Aging chicks between 4-9 days old is challenging because none of their flight or body feathers have emerged...they are all white fluff. How alert and mobile they are helps narrow the estimate to either end of that window.
The following two videos are nest checks from yesterday. Excuse the poor video quality...this is a low-budget project. Looking forward to banding nestlings in a couple weeks and getting important feather samples for the American Kestrel Genoscape Project (https://fullcyclephenology.com/researchareas/genoscape/). These folks just got big chunk of $$ to study birds and climate change. Important work.
I had a mild surprise today during a box check. Surprise mostly because I hadn't seen kestrels at this particular box yet, there are many starlings in the vicinity and it's close to another active kestrel nest. When I popped my camera inside, I was greeted by a male hollering at the intrusion. He was sitting on at least 3 eggs. I left quickly, but not before a couple fist pumps and a "Heck Yeah!" I have to return to get an accurate count of the eggs and hopefully band one or both adults. I suspect he had at least one more egg in there I couldn't see. Also, the male at the neighboring territory is banded, and I was able to see that today's male was not. Ergo, different males. Since the neighboring box is about 1/2 mile away, I wasn't sure if a second pair could squeeze in. Nice to know they are tolerating each other.