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Ayrshire Study

Satellite tagging of young kestrels

Annual Reports 2002-2014

Results summary - 1979-2003

Annual kestrel summaries - Scotland

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Annual Report 2002

The 2002 season saw the classic bottoming out of the vole cycle in the main study area following the peak in the year 2000.   It was not until late June that voles were encountered on the ground.   Predictably the kestrel breeding season was a very poor one with some of the lowest occupation and production figures for many years.   A measure of the season was that by 10 May I had only recorded ten sightings of kestrels on territory since 23 March and seen only one pair displaying. 

On the whole the weather was not good either, only three days recorded without rain in February, drying out in March, mixed in April and May, quite wet in June and monsoon in July.

  

2002 breeding statistics were as follows :-

 

 

2002

2001

2000

 

       

Number of territories checked

 

34

24

41

% occupation

 

44

70

76

Number of clutches known

 

9

15

22

Average clutch size

 

4.4

5

5.7

% of eggs which hatched

 

82

76

85

Number of results known

 

12

17

27

Average young per breeding pair

 

2.75

3.8

4

Average young per successful pair

 

4.1

4.6

4.65

Number of breeding attempts failed

 

4

3

4

% failed

 

33

23

15

% brood survival         

 

82

98

93

Number of young ringed

 

30

44

74

Number of adults ringed

 

 

0

13

Territory occupation was the lowest on record and the first egg was laid on 7 April in a lowland site.   Clutch size ranged from three to five eggs.   Although the number of pairs was small the successful ones reared four young.   Only a small sample of adults were caught but it was quite significant that the most successful hens were all experienced birds a breeding hen first ringed as an adult in 1996 reared five young, two from 1998 reared five and four and another breeding hen ringed in 2000 reared five.