Tinnunculus alaudarius – A common resident.
The most numerous of all our Hawks, to be met with all over the county, nesting in woods, in old ruins, and in many places on the cliffs all round the coast. The Kestrel was common in our plantations at Stone Hall, and an old Crow’s nest was generally occupied by it, and we have taken some very pretty varieties of its handsome eggs. One summer we witnessed a conflict that was maintained for several days between a pair of Crows and a pair of Kestrels for the possession of an old nest in a hedge-row elm: it ended in favour of the Kestrels, and a brood was successfully brought off.
One bitter day we started a Kestrel off the snow-covered ground, and seeing it drop something as it flew off, went up to the spot and found a partly devoured Starling. We do not believe that Kestrels attack small birds unless they are unable to procure mice or insects, or are driven hard to find food for their young, when we have known them to carry off young Pheasants. One very foggy day, we shot a Kestrel by mistake, as it was fluttering low through the bushes, when we took it for a Woodcock. On picking it up, we found it had a diseased mandible, and was little more than a skeleton, having evidently been unable to feed.
We have found a pair of Kestrels at every station of cliff birds we have visited, whether on the mainland or on the islands.