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American Kestrel Eggs Enter Hatching Window

Watch the American Kestrels switch incubation duties over their five eggs.

Prepare to welcome the next generation of North America’s smallest falcons on Bird Cams! It’s now been 33 days since the pair from the American Kestrel Cam in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, started incubating their first of five eggs. The time has come where we should expect the first hatchling to arrive in the next 24–48 hours. Watch live.

Timing The Hatch: The incubation period for American Kestrels typically lasts between 26-32 days, but the kestrels nesting at this site tend to incubate for slightly longer periods. Since the cam started streaming with our partners at the Raptor Resource Project in 2018, the first egg has hatched on day 33 or 34 of incubation when viable (check out the American Kestrel Cam Timeline for more information on nesting season records at this site). Time will tell if the trend continues in 2024.

Busy Birds: The nestling period provides a change of pace from the slow toil of incubation. The female will continuously brood her young for 8–10 days after hatching and will distribute most of the meals to the nestlings. After the chicks grow old enough to spend time alone, the female will reduce her brooding efforts and begin hunting along with her mate.

In the early stage of the nestling period, the male will be the sole provider of food for the family. After darting into the nest box with a meal, he’ll be welcomed by a raucous chorus of loud vocalizations by the hungry nestlings as they jostle for position in the feeding line. Food is delivered from dawn to dusk, and some kestrel pairs have been observed feeding up to 40 prey items per day to a nest with five young!

Make sure to follow daily updates from the cam on Twitter/X @WI_KestrelCam.

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Pileated Woodpecker by Lin McGrew / Macaulay Library