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American Kestrel Cam Timeline

Delve into the history of the American Kestrel cam.

Review the main events, including nesting cycle milestones and other noteworthy incidents, in this historical timeline of the American Kestrel cam.

Jump To Season Timeline:

2024
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018


Nesting Cycle Dates & Information

YearEgg #Lay DateHatch DateFledge Date
20241April 14May 17
2April 16May 18
3April 18May 18
4April 20May 18
5April 22May 19
20221April 17May 21June 20
2April 19May 21June 20
3April 21May 21June 20
4April 23May 22June 21
5April 25Inviable
20211April 8May 12June 12
2April 10May 12June 12
3April 12May 12June 12
4April 14May 12June 11
5April16May 14June 11
20201April 12Inviable
2April 14Inviable
3April 16Inviable
4April 18Inviable
5April 20Inviable
20191April 18May 21June 20
2April 20May 21June 21
3April 22May 22June 22
4April 24May 22June 23
5April 26May 23Deceased
20181May 8Inviable
2May 15June 14July 13
3May 17June 16July 13
4May 19June 16July 14
5May 21June 18July 14

2024 Season Timeline

May 17–19, 2024: All Five Kestrel Eggs Hatch Within 48 Hours

Watch all five hatchlings perk up for a meal at the American Kestrel nest.

All five American Kestrel chicks have hatched within 48 hours. The first chick hatched in the afternoon of May 17, and three more followed the next day on May 18. Incubation officially ended for the kestrels once the fifth and final nestling hatched in the early hours of May 19. Watch five chicks perk up for a morning feeding after the male delivers a rodent to the nest.

April 14-22, 2024: American Kestrels Return To Bird Cams with 5 Eggs

tap to watch the female kestrel reveal 5 eggs.

The American Kestrels are back for another season on Bird Cams in 2024! This season marks the first since 2022, and it brings a change of scenery! The kestrels have moved into a natural-style nest box made out of a downed tree. The female returned in mid April, and she’s since laid 5 eggs—one each on April 14, 16, 18, 20, and 22.

2022 Season Timeline

June 20-21, 2022: All Four Kestrel Chicks Fledge Within 48 Hours

Tap to watch all four fledglings exit the nest box.

Enjoy this compilation of first flights by the four chicks from the American Kestrel cam in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The two eldest chicks took off in the early morning of June 20. The third chick followed suit that afternoon after motivating its sibling to give up his spot at the nest box entrance. The final chick took a less direct approach on June 21, when it climbed out of the entrance and scaled the wall of the barn before finally zipping out of frame.

May 22, 2022: Newly Hatched Fourth Chick at the Wisconsin Kestrel Cam Makes Its First Appearance

Watch the fourth kestrel chick hatch.

And then there were four. Can you tell which chick just hatched in this clip from May 22 on the Wisconsin Kestrel cam? Upon hatching, kestrel chicks are basically helpless, and their natal down is still dampened from being in the egg. But don’t worry, this youngster’s insulating down will fluff up after being out of the egg for about an hour.

May 21, 2022: Three Cute Kestrel Chicks Hatch Within Four Hours! Reveals And First Feeding

Watch three kestrel chicks hatch on the same day.

Three of the five American Kestrel chicks hatched within fours hours of one another on May 21. Watch the parents reveal their new hatchlings one by one. After pipping for about 24 hours, the first hatchling was first seen out of the shell at 2:22 P.M. when the male arrived to relieve the female from her nesting duties. Less than three hours later, a prey delivery by the male uncovered the second chick at 4:48 P.M. Be sure to watch hilarity ensue as the bumbling chicks do their best to stumble over one another uncontrollably in search of tiny bites from mom. Note the third egg actively hatching during this process. Finally at 5:59 P.M., an incubation break by the female exposed the third chick in a puddle of downy white feathers.

April 25, 2022: American Kestrels Kick Off 2022 With A Clutch Of 5 Eggs

See the kestrel's 5 eggs.

It’s going to be another full nest box this season on the Wisconsin Kestrel cam. American Kestrels typically lay between 2 and 5 egg per breeding attempt, so this is likely the final egg of the clutch. The 5 eggs were laid on April 17, 19, 21, 23, and 25.

2021 Season Timeline

June 12, 2021: Final Three American Kestrel Chicks Fledge One After Another

Three kestrel chicks fledge.

The last three American Kestrel chicks have fledged, and the nest box is empty. After the first two siblings fledged on June 11, the remaining nestlings decided not to waste any time in joining their brother and sister in exploring the surrounding grasslands near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The chicks fledged one after another at 5:53 AM, 5:54 AM, and 6:19 AM on June 12. After the last female fledged, the adult male dropped in to do one last sweep of the nest box and confirm the “all clear!”

June 11, 2021: Fledging Continues As Second Kestrel Chick Takes Flight

Second kestrel takes flight.

The second American Kestrel chick has fledged. This female was ready to go, and she let her sibling know to get out of the way. Watch as she clings to the nest box entrance before taking over the perch and making a strong flight towards the exterior camera. Two down, three to go!

June 11, 2021: First American Kestrel Chick Fledges From Nest Box

First kestrel takes flight.

The first American Kestrel chick has fledged at around 8:15 AM on June 11. Watch the chick (a male) take one last dip into the nest box before climbing up to the entrance and taking wing over the rural grasslands of Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. This flight comes at day 30 of the nestling period, assuming this male fledgling was one of the eldest four chicks to hatch on May 12.

May 14, 2021: Fifth Chick Hatches At American Kestrel Nest, Incubation Ceases

five chicks hatch at kestrel nest

The American Kestrels are five for five. After a pip surfaced on egg #5 on May 13, the fifth and final fluffy-headed American Kestrel hatchling was spotted the next morning (May 14) after the female left her brooding duties to grab some food. The youngest chick will now have to compete with its four larger siblings (all hatched on May 12) for food in order to ensure proper growth and development.

May 12, 2021: Four American Kestrel Chicks Hatch On Same Day

four kestrel chicks hatch

May 12 marked a busy day at the American Kestrel nest as we watched four of the five eggs hatch in a 24 hour period. Watch the female take a brooding break and return to feed her chicks before settling over them.

April 16, 2021: Fifth And Final Egg Laid By Female Kestrel

Five kestrel eggs

A fifth egg was laid by the female American Kestrel around noon on April 16, and the female gave us a clear view when leaving the box a couple hours later after hearing her mate calling in the distance. Her clutch is now complete.

April 14, 2021: Female Kestrel Lays Fourth Egg

Kestrel lays 4th egg

Watch the female American Kestrel unveil her fourth egg of the 2021 breeding season in this clip from the Wisconsin Kestrel cam. She was seen squatting and labored in the late morning at 10:54 AM, which is likely when the egg was laid.

April 12, 2021: American Kestrel Cam Launches New Season With Three Eggs In The Nest

Kestrels with three eggs

We are happy to report that the Wisconsin Kestrel cam is once again streaming a breeding pair of North America’s smallest falcons live from the rolling grasslands of Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. The 2020 season ended in heartbreak when the breeding female was presumed to have died during the incubation period. Thankfully this new pair have taken up residence in the nest box hosted on the property of our cam partners at the Raptor Resource Project. The kestrels nesting at this site are not banded, so we can’t be sure if the same male from previous years has taken a new mate, or if this is a brand new pair entirely. One thing that is for sure is that the female kestrel has laid three eggs, one each on April 8, 10, and 12.

2020 Season Timeline

April 28, 2020: Kestrel Nest Fails After Female Disappears

Female Kestrel

We are sad to reports that, after laying 5 eggs and days of dedicated incubation, the female kestrel left the box sometime during the morning of April 28 and never returned. The male kestrel continued to try and incubate the eggs for a day, but he is unable to care for them alone and appears to have abandoned the nesting attempt. We and our collaborators at the Raptor Resource Project are saddened by the loss but hopeful that kestrels will return to nesting in the box soon. Thank you for watching, and we’ll hopefully see the kestrels back here in 2021!

April 20, 2020: Five Eggs For The American Kestrels

Five Eggs For The American Kestrels

Watch the female lay her fifth egg of the 2020 breeding season at 11:19 AM on the American Kestrel cam. The female has now laid one egg every two days from April 12 to April 20. American Kestrels typically lay 4–5 eggs per breeding attempt, meaning this may mark the end of the egg-laying period for the on-cam pair. The incubation period for American Kestrels lasts about a month (28–32 days), so we should expect the first egg to hatch sometime around May 12.

April 18, 2020: Fourth Egg Laid By Female Kestrel

Fourth Egg Laid By Female Kestrel

The American Kestrels’ fourth egg has arrived. Watch the female lay the egg at 10:25 AM on April 18. Time will tell if a fifth egg is on the way in the coming days.

April 16, 2020: Egg #3 Arrives In The Kestrel Nest Box

Egg #3 Arrives In The Kestrel Nest Box

The female American Kestrel laid the pair’s third egg of 2020 on April 16. Watch her hunker down and lay the egg at 10:10 AM. The female kestrel at this site has laid five eggs in each of the past two breeding seasons, so we expect that this falcon family has the potential to grow larger still.

April 14, 2020: Female Kestrel Lays Second Egg Of 2020 Breeding Season

Female Kestrel Lays Second Egg Of 2020 Breeding Season

As the female leaves the nest box, she reveals her second, freshly laid egg of the 2020 American Kestrel cam season on April 14.

April 12, 2020: Wisconsin Kestrels Return, Lay First Egg of 2020

Wisconsin Kestrels Return, Lay First Egg of 2020

The American Kestrels are back for another breeding season at their nest box in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Just after dawn on April 12, the female laid her first egg of the 2020 season.


2019 Season Timeline

June 23, 2019: Last Two Kestrel Chicks Fledge, Leave An Empty Nest Box

Last Two Kestrel Chicks Fledge

We’ve got that empty feeling now that the last two American Kestrel chicks have fledged! Watch their first flights from the nest box (the female fledged on June 22, and the male fledged on June 23). Good luck to the chicks as they explore the surrounding grasslands.

June 21, 2019: Second Kestrel Chick Fledges With Purpose

Second Kestrel Chick Fledges

The second kestrel chick fledged from the nest box on the morning of June 21! This female just couldn’t wait to take her first flight. Watch her pester her sister to give up her spot at the nest box entrance before taking wing without hesitation. One female and one male chick remain.

June 20, 2019: First Kestrel Chick Fledges From Nest Box

First Kestrel Chick Fledges

The first American Kestrel chick has left the nest box! Immediately after one of the adults delivered a meal, one of the males decided that 29–30 days in the nest box was long enough. Watch the event from both cam views in this highlight from this morning on the Wisconsin Kestrel cam. 

May 31, 2019: Youngest Kestrel Chick Dies

Kestrel chicks being fed

We’re sad to report that despite the best efforts of the kestrel parents, the youngest chick has died, likely due to being outcompeted for food by its siblings. The youngest kestrel hatched almost 2 days after the next youngest sibling, and never quite caught up. With the additional stress of the black fly outbreak in Wisconsin, it appeared to die sometime during the afternoon on Friday, May 31. It’s not uncommon in American Kestrel nests for the last-hatched chick to fail to thrive, apparently unable to compete for food with larger siblings. The following morning the deceased chick was removed to lower the likelihood of black flies being attracted to the body and the remaining 4 chicks. 

May 23, 2019: Egg #5 Hatches On Wisconsin Kestrel Cam

Egg #5 Hatches On Wisconsin Kestrel Cam

Enjoy these highlights as the fifth and final American Kestrel chick hatches from its egg! Watch the female assist her hatchling out of the egg before she nibbles down some eggshell. Moments later, the fifth chick is already begging for its first meal!

May 21-22, 2019: Four American Kestrel Chicks Hatch

Four American Kestrel Chicks Hatch

The parents on the Wisconsin Kestrel cam have their talons full now that four of their five eggs have hatched! On day 33 of incubation, the first chick was revealed at around 4:40 PM nest time on May 21 before a second chick hatched later in the evening. On the morning of May 22, the adults welcomed two more hungry hatchlings fresh out of the shell. Thanks to our partners at the Raptor Resource Project for helping to share this look inside the lives of North America’s littlest falcon.

April 26, 2019: Fifth Egg Laid In Kestrel Nest Box

Fifth Egg Laid In Kestrel Nest Box

And then there were five! The female uncovers the pair’s fifth egg after she follows the male outside of the nest box. Minutes later the male returns to settle over the clutch. American Kestrels typically lay a maximum of five eggs per breeding attempt.

April 24, 2019: Egg #4 Arrives For Wisconsin Kestrels

Egg #4 Arrives For Wisconsin Kestrels

The female American Kestrel is laying eggs like clockwork! Every other morning since April 18, she has hunkered down and added an egg to her clutch. Get the first look at egg #4 after she rises off her nest scrape at about 9:39 AM on April 24. American Kestrels typically lay 4–5 eggs per clutch.

April 22, 2019: First Peek at Egg #3 During Prey Delivery

First Peek at Egg #3 During Prey Delivery

During a late morning prey delivery from the male on April 22, we get our first peek at the American Kestrels’ third egg when the female rises off of her clutch!

April 20, 2019: Wisconsin Kestrels Lay Egg #2

Kestrels Egg #2

On the morning of April 20, the female kestrel laid her second, reddish-brown egg in the nest box.

April 18, 2019: Wisconsin Kestrel Cam Goes Live As Female Lays An Egg

Wisconsin Kestrel Cam Goes Live As Female Lays An Egg

Watch the female American Kestrel hunker down and lay her first egg of the breeding season at 8:45 A.M. cam time! American Kestrels typically lay 4–5 eggs per clutch, laying one egg every other day.


2018 Season Timeline

Nov. 28, 2018: 2018 American Kestrel Cam Highlights

2018 American Kestrel Cam Highlights

Watch a breeding pair of American Kestrels raise four chicks in their nest box on a private property near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Thanks to our cam partners at the Raptor Resource Project for helping to provide this window inside the lives of North America’s littlest falcon!

July 14, 2018: Last Kestrel Chick Takes Flight From The Nesting Box

Last Kestrel Chick Takes Flight From The Nesting Box

Nearly five hours after its sibling fledged, the final American Kestrel chick took wing at 11:44 AM and joined its siblings in the wild world outside of the nesting box! All four chicks have now fledged, and the nesting box is empty. The age of the chicks at fledging ranged from 26–29 days post-hatch. Thanks to our partners at the Raptor Resource Project and to everyone for watching and learning along with us as these tiny falcons grew from fluffballs to fledglings. Good luck out there little ones!

July 14, 2018: Third Kestrel Chick Fledges

Third Kestrel Chick Fledges

One of the American Kestrel chicks fledged first thing this morning! Watch one of the younger male chicks take his first flight at 6:05 AM on July 14. At least one male chick remains in the nest after two chicks likely fledged sometime on July 13.

July 13, 2018: First Two Kestrel Chicks Fledge From The Nest Box

First Two Kestrel Chicks Fledge From The Nest Box

Two kestrel chicks fledged on July 13. Watch this clip to see their last moments in the nest box before taking off. Assuming the eldest chick was one of the birds to fledge, July 13 marked day 29 post-hatch for the chick.

July 10, 2018: Juvenile Plumage Reveals One Female Chick, Three Males

Juvenile Plumage Reveals One Female Chick, Three Males

Now that the American Kestrel chicks are well on their way to developing their juvenile feathers, it’s easy to see which is a female and which is a male (American Kestrels are sexually dimorphic in their plumage, even as juveniles). Check out the birds’ wings for a quick clue about who’s who. Males have slate-blue wings with a rusty back; females’ wings are reddish brown overall on their back and wings. From the looks of it, the eldest chick (with the most fully developed plumage) is a female, and the youngest three chicks are males!

June 22, 2018: Female Kestrel Feeds Unhatched Egg To Chicks

Female Kestrel Feeds Unhatched Egg To Chicks

There’s nothing to be wasted when you are an American Kestrel. In this clip, the female breaks open the shell of the remaining inviable egg and feeds it to her chicks. Every ounce of energy counts when you are raising young in the wild.

June 21, 2018: American Kestrel Cam Goes Live

American Kestrel Cam Goes Live

Bird Cams has teamed up with the Raptor Resource Project on a new American Kestrel cam live from a gravel-bottomed nest box on private property near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin! Right now there are four chicks in the nest. They hatched on June 14, 16, 16, and 18, and the remaining egg in the nest is unlikely to hatch at this point.

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Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library