Country Corner


Hovering kestrels seem to be everywhere at present.

There can be various reasons for this.

They may have had a good breeding season, but that is very unlikely this year.

They more probably consist mainly of birds born during summer in northern Europe, which are now evading the onset of winter there.

The farther north in Europe kestrels breed, the more migratory they tend to be.

Conversely, the farther south they live,the more sedentary they are.

We tend to think of ourselves as the most highly evolved of animals. In fact, many animals have evolved senses superior to our own.

For instance, it has been discovered kestrels can see ultra violet light. This means that, while hovering on high, they can detect the trails and even droppings and urine of voles and mice.

You may notice the way the whole bird may quiver and shoogle in the wind, but its head will not move at all.

This is essential as the eyes are trying to detect tiny clues and movements far below.

So watch out for that quivering crucifix in the sky and consider that it may be a Scandinavian, ultra violet deciphering weather vane, which can hold its head perfectly stationary while flying into a gale!

More Country Corner in this week’s paper.