This camera is in a Kestrel box and there are photographs to the right of the American Kestrel Falco sparverius) (popping in and out occasionally. This particular nest box has been popular with this species. Kestrels perform a loud courtship display in May and will nest in May or June in Western Montana.

A kestrel may lay 5 – 7 eggs in total. Both the male and the female Kestrel diligently care for the eggs. Two of the video clips below show the male Kestrel bringing in food for the female on the eggs.

Videos: American Kestral in Nestbox

 

babysquirrelinboxThe photograph to the left shows a newborn red squirrel (Tamiasciurus hudsonicus) poking its head out of a Kestrel Box. We did not install a camera in this box because the babies were already being born when we discovered the nest. Red Squirrels have a variable mating season and the female may mate with 4-16 males during estrus. These babies were born after a 31-35 day gestation period. This family of squirrels probably has more than one nest in their territory and their mother will move them from one nest to the next. They will continue to nurse from their mother for about 70 days. Like most squirrels, the Pine Squirrel (as Red Squirrels are commonly called) eats nuts and pine cones. However, the Red Squirrel also harvests sap. The squirrel will bite into the base of a sugar maple tree, puncturing the sap-carrying xylem tubes. They will then leave the tree and allow for the water to evaporate from the sap before returning to eat the remaining syrup. They also clip and gather mushrooms, hanging them from tree branches to dry in the sun.