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The Kestrel

Ayrshire Study

Satellite tagging of young kestrels

Annual Reports 2002-2014

Results summary - 1979-2003

Annual kestrel summaries - Scotland

References and Contact





ORKNEY RSG                              Stuart Williams

Thirty five sites were checked. The majority on the Mainland (28) but no information was received from 15 other known sites.   Breeding was proved in 15 of the 35 sites, probable in one and possible in another two.   In five territories birds were present but no breeding activity was noted and no birds were found in 12.   Ten breeding attempts were known to be successful and three definitely failed, two at the clutch size, the other timing was not known.   Twenty one young were known to fledge successfully.   It was noted that stoats were on the increase and there is definite potential for predation of ground nesting kestrel pairs in the future.


CENTRAL SCOTLAND RSG             Anna-Marie Dennis

Seventy two territories were checked this year, with 31 occupied by a pair and single adults seen at an additional six.   However, as in previous years this includes 19 nest box study sites which have not been used and are not really territories (yet!), but which we are monitoring long term.   If you leave out these 19 then 31 out of 53 territories checked were occupied by a pair.  

The outcome was unknown at nine of these sites.

Eggs were definitely laid at 22 sites.   Clutch sizes (where known) were between four and six, average of five.

One site failed to hatch (a six), there were no known failures after hatching.

Where brood sizes were known, they ranged from one to six, with an average of 3.4 chicks fledged per nest. The average of broods where the actual brood size was known (rather than a minimum brood size from sightings of fledged chicks) was 4.26.  The most frequent brood size was five. A minimum of 71 chicks fledged.

Sixteen more sites were monitored this season than last season.

It was a bumper year in Falkirk and Lanarkshire, but not so much in Stirlingshire.


UIST RSG                                   Andrew Stevenson

Coverage improved on previous years.   Twenty three sites were recorded with a minimum of 40 young fledging North Uist, five sites and 12 young;  Benbecula one site and three young;  and South Uist 17 sites and 25 young.


ISLE OF EIGG                             John Chester

At least six territorial pairs present and seemingly a fairly successful season judging by the number of juveniles seen in late summer.   The first fledged juvenile was seen on 1 July.   Widespread sightings throughout the Autumn but scarcer in the mid-winter period.


LOTHIAN AND BORDERS RSG                                       Alan Leitch 

Sites/ Territories checked

Sites/ Territories occupied

Sites with proven breeding

Minimum young fledged

No. of young fledged per occupied site

No. of young fledged per successful pair







Information on his species has suffered in recent years from changes in observers, making comparison from year to year difficult.  However, a reduction in effort in the south and east of the Borders has been compensated for this year by sterling efforts in the Pentlands by Graham Anderson. 

Site occupation is fairly low.  This could be in part due to nestboxes being used as an indicator of the number of sites as there may be more nestboxes available than actual habitat for territories.  However, eight empty natural sites in the Lammermuirs does not look very good. 

Fledging success looks to be good in the sites that have been used and, with plenty of unused sites, an increase in the breeding population seems a real possibility.    

The above information is based on those sites which were fully surveyed.  I have also been provided with information on sightings of kestrels.  It is fairly clear that there are parts of the area where kestrels are still doing fairly well, and others where they have virtually disappeared.  I hope in the future to map this information, and perhaps combined with Atlas information, put together a better picture of the distribution of this species.  Please continue to send me any sight records. 

Thanks are due to Graham Anderson, Tom Dougall, Malcolm Henderson and Tim Chamberlain for providing breeding records.