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Kestrels and Sparrowhawks

Sunday, November 29th 2020

Bird ringing is a way of learning about migration but it can also teach us about longevity too. This Kestrel that was caught by some of the bird ringers last weekend was first ringed as an adult in 2012, making it at least 9 years old!


Another Kestrel was ringed during the week too. This one was a young male and hadn't been caught deliberately in a mist net but had been found laying in a field by a member of the public. Raye Wilkinson took it in and looked after it and it was brought to the reserve to be ringed. It has since been successfully released back into the wild close to where it was discovered.


The release went even better than expected with the bird flying a good distance straight away. With their huge black eyes Kestrels can spot small prey from 200 feet above the ground.

Another small bird of prey, the Sparrowhawk, is occasionally caught in the mist nets. This adult male was ringed yesterday by one of the ringers in their back garden. 

As with Kestrels, the male Sparrowhawks are smaller than the females. They are more colourful too; their heads are blue-grey with reddish cheeks and the chin and upperthroat are white. Sparrowhawks’ eyes are orange surrounded by a yellow eye ring and legs and feet are yellow.

Those eyes!


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