Kestrel Father Steps Up When Mate Dies

Wildlife photographer Robert E. Fuller (previously) has a webcam in a kestrel nest. The pair of kestrels hatched a brood of six chicks, but recently the mother got into a fight with some owls and never returned home. She is assumed dead. Meanwhile, the father kestrel was left with chicks too young to care for themselves.

Normally, a kestrel father may sit on eggs, but after they hatch he has little interaction with the chicks besides bringing prey animals to the nest. It's the mother who keeps the chicks warm, and tears prey into smaller pieces and feeds them to the chicks. A kestrel chick who loses its mother is usually doomed. But Mr. Kes here is doing his best to mother the chicks. Above you see him making awkward attempts to keep them warm. He also gradually figured out how to feed them, as you can see below. He seems confused, but eventually tears the prey into smaller pieces.

Now that's a good raptor! Fulton eventually brought the three weakest chicks inside for some intensive care. Their father is still feeding them, so we hope that the babies will be alright.

#kestrel #bird #chick #genderrole #singlefather   

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