The four orphaned chicks were living in a kestrel nest in a barn that was torn down. The nest was abandoned by the parents. The chicks were found at 10 days old and brought to DCHS's Wildlife Center for rehabilitation and care.
Stacy Taritas, a Wildlife Center volunteer, tells her first-hand story of joining our volunteer team and her experience helping these kestrels:
"I’ve only been a volunteer for DCHS Wildlife Center for the past year and wish I would have found it sooner. I learned about the wonderful opportunity to volunteer during a presentation at Wild Birds Unlimited by Jackie Edmunds. I was signed up to volunteer within weeks. This past winter I cared for bats and absolutely feel in love with the work and everything about these little creatures. This spring I started working on incubator birds and have become completely enamored with them, as well - the best four hours of my week is spent caring for and rehabbing these little birds.
I found out about our local Kestrel project during a week long raptor research class during the Summer of 2017 at Linwood Springs Research Station in Stevens Point. One day of the class was spent at Buena Vista Grasslands with Janet E. and it consisted of banding baby and adult Kestrels - I was immediately taken with the tiniest of falcons and the research programs that Janet is involved in. The team is looking at genealogy and winter movement of migrating Kestrels. Janet put me in touch with Brand, our local Kestrel expert, and I inherited 5 Kestrel boxes to monitor (in the Town of Dunn) within a couple of months.
The alignment of the stars that allowed the placement of our orphan Kestrels into wild foster nests is uncanny. I was on the schedule to volunteer and help out with the Madison Audubon field trip to band baby Kestrels with Janet who was coming in from Stevens Point to perform the banding. The Sunday night prior I received an email from Tessa from the Wildlife Center asking if I knew of anyone that could help with a wild foster of four orphan Kestrels. I immediately responded and cc’d Brand and Janet.
By my ride in to volunteer with the incubator birds on Monday morning Brand called and told me he spoke to Janet and they thought we’d be able to help out and wild foster these babies. The plan was to put them into the nest boxes during Friday’s field trip. Janet and Brand asked for many photos of feathers and heads and wings as it was imperative we get their ages right. The plan to get them into boxes that would be a perfect fit came together beautifully. By the end of the Madison Audubon Kestrel banding field trip we had banded and placed the four orphans with four wild foster families, complete with siblings and parents.
It was a was a complete honor and thrill to be able to be a part of the process of rehoming these amazing orphan Kestrels into the most ideal wild foster situation ever."