The 2023 chicks are here!
On Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in the early afternoon, a little miracle occurred. An American kestrel burst into existence, pecking free of its delicate shell. Very soon, its siblings should follow suit, and if all goes well, there will be five new falcons on planet Earth. Sure, it happens every spring, for thousands of bird species in millions of nests on every continent. But sometimes we’re so focused on nature’s big moments—and on our own big moments—that we forget to stop and be awed by little miracles.
Take one minute from your day and check out these beauties. For the next four weeks, you can watch the kestrel chicks, and their harried parents, thanks to the live cam mounted on a nest box at TNC’s Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.
As you enjoy this raptor family in real-time, we have a challenge for you: don’t just take in the obvious. Use more than your eyes. Listen. It’s easy to hear the rowdy cheeps from the ever-hungry chicks, but do you also notice the gentle scrape of mama kestrel’s wing against the wood box walls? Think about how this small space keeps her brood safe from predators and weather. Can you count the number of chittering exchanges between kestrel parents coming and going with prey? Their fascinating partnership is crucial to the survival of this family.
For a real challenge, listen for sounds coming in from outside the nest box. Maybe the breeze carries the distant mating call of a red-winged black bird, or the sleepy drone of a bee floating around the box opening. If you tune in long enough, you might even hear the jarring crow of a rooster, a resident of one of the nearby farms.
It’s mesmerizing, isn’t it? The live cam transports you into the life of these kestrels, and, with a little attentiveness, you also get hints of what lies beyond their nest: a unique landscape nestled along the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake…a complex ecosystem facing its own crises…a magnificent, fraught world waiting to receive new life.
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These chicks will grow up fast, so take a few minutes each day to watch as they grow toward their epic moment of flight!
Be sure to follow The Nature Conservancy's Utah chapter on Facebook and Instagram for updates on these charismatic falcons at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve.
Have Some Avian Family Fun!
After you check out the kestrel cam, take a moment to learn more about these colorful raptors and find out why scientists are concerned about this species. You can use the activities and resources below to learn more about American kestrels and the habitats they, and many other birds, need to thrive.
- Read an exciting story of Life, Death and Bird Cam Drama for the kestrels at the Great Salt Lake Shoreland Preserve.
- The Making of a Falcon? Follow kestrel chicks from egg to flight in this informative blog post.
Learn the basics about these amazing raptors from HawkWatch International.
Get out and explore habitat for kestrels and hundreds of other bird species at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve. You can earn a prize!
10 million birds rely upon the lake’s waters, wetlands and uplands each year, including American kestrels. How much do you know about Utah’s inland sea? Take the quiz!
You can listen at the preserve or online! Why do kestrels nest here? This tour offers facts and stories about the preserve’s wildlife and habitats, including the uplands that are vital to kestrels.
Help Protect Migratory Birds at the Great Salt Lake
Support our work in Utah, including the preservation of migratory bird habitat at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, by making a charitable contribution today.