It was a special day when we released five American Kestrels - four orphaned chicks and one adult female, on Friday! The release is a process that is more complicated than most realize. Our youngsters are always raised by an adult of their own species. In this case the adult was an injured adult that was able to recover as the chicks grew and they were all released together. Therefore, mom went with the kids and there was a sighting after that indicated they stayed together.
Our release actually begins the day the birds are admitted to REGI. Little ones are not raised by human hands but instead are quickly put in with an adult of their own species. It is vital to their success in the wild that chicks not identify with or imprint to humans. Foster rearing is as close as we can come to making their life normal in a captive situation. They are fed natural food. As they grow and gain flight, they are put together into a larger flight area to develop the muscles needed for controlled flight which is vital for hunting.
Enjoy some photos of the chicks when admitted, moving into the flight, pre-release physicals and finally banding and release to the wild.
We are happy to have been able to work with Central Wisconsin Kestrel Research, Janet Eschenbauch and Sally for the banding and release advice so the birds would be going in to the best possible habitat as they ready for migration. Working with this fine organization is always a great experience for us and our patients and we appreciate their help.