Kestrels ground-nesting in a high-density situation

The area of a small bathing lake in Apetlon/Seewinkel, Austria (Apetloner Badesee) traditionally serves as a breeding site for a high number of Turmfalken / Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). Up to five pairs have been breeding in the roughly 200 x 250 m site (5 ha / 12,35 acres), a water-filled gravel pit surrounded by high poplar trees, which are equipped with a good number of nesting aids such as nest boxes or baskets (used both by Kestrels and Long-eared Owls for breeding) as well as old nests of Nebelkrähen / Hooded Crows (Corvus corone cornix) and Ringeltauben / Woodpigeons (Columba palumbus).

In 2020, the high-density, almost colony-like situation led to two pairs nesting in very close vicinity (nesting distance about 20 meters) at the building of the complex, at the same time (photos from 18 June 2020). One pair bred in a hanging flower pot, about two meters above the ground and another one on the gravel ground, in a wooden shack on the outside of the building, which the birds accessed through openings below the roof.

Ground-nesting of Common Kestrels in a wooden shack.
At the same time, 20 meters away: Kestrel feeding chicks in a flower pot, two meters above the ground.