Lough­bor­ough Uni sets up cam­era to mon­i­tor progress of kestrels

Loughborough Echo - - SHEPSHED SCENE -

A PAIR of kestrels have once again re­turned to their nest on cam­pus – and now you can watch what Lough­bor­ough’s feath­ery friends get up to!

The birds – known col­lec­tively as a flight, soar or hover – have been nest­ing at the univer­sity for the past five years.

Ini­tially, they nested on a site that was dif­fi­cult to mon­i­tor, so a nest box was set up in a more ac­ces­si­ble area.

In the first year, the mother had three chicks, four in the sec­ond year, and last year she pro­duced five.

Re­cently the fe­male kestrel re­turned to the nest box, which is lo­cated near the Univer­sity’s Science and En­ter­prise Park, ready to hatch her young.

Thanks to the Univer­sity’s Se­nior Ar­borist Mark Hill­man, Ar­borist He­len Ex­ley, Com­puter Sys­tems De­vel­oper Dr Jon Knight and the Sus­tain­abil­ity Team, the world can watch the bird’s every move as the nest has been fit­ted with a live cam­era.

Mark Hill­man said: “The fe­male is cur­rently on her eggs brood­ing [in­cu­bat­ing]. There will prob­a­bly be be­tween three and six eggs and they will hatch in 27 to 30 days.

“Soon she will stop fly­ing for food and the male will bring food to her. Their diet con­sists of mice, voles, shrews, bee­tles and moths.”

The suc­cess­ful breed­ing of the kestrels is thought to be largely due to the way in which bio­di­ver­sity is man­aged both on and around cam­pus.

The Univer­sity’s Grounds and Gar­dens team has sup­ple­mented the wildlife diet by putting out grain in a num­ber of lo­ca­tions the kestrels use to hunt.

An in­crease of grain has also en­cour­aged more ro­dents for the birds to feed on.

The live stream of the ‘kestrel cam’ at Lough­bor­ough Univer­sity can be found on the Sus­tain­abil­ity Team’s YouTube chan­nel.

Pic­tured is the kestrel in the nest box.

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