Barn Owl vs Kestrel
YouTube: Charter Group Birdcams

Kestrel Falcon Invades Barn Owl Nest and Barely Escapes With its Life

The barn owl is one of the more unassuming birds of North America. We know they are predators, but thanks to their distinctive heart-shaped face they just don't have the look of a killer. However, these owls are quite capable of becoming fierce if the situation dictates it. This footage taken from a streaming webcam over a barn owl nest proves it.

A wandering American kestrel, also known as a "sparrow hawk," has discovered this barn owl nest. The barn owl is not a part of the kestrel's diet, but this falcon doesn't seem to understand that. The bird of prey perches outside the nesting box watching the two parent owls inside. Finally, the kestrel decides to enter the nest.

What happens next is a roughly minute and a half long wrestling match between the owls and the kestrel. The owls make it quite clear early on that their eggs are not to be messed with. If you watch closely, you can literally see the regret in this kestrel's eyes. After a while, the kestrel finally gets free of the male owl's talons and beats a hasty retreat out of the box.

We may never look at owls the same way again after seeing how they handled this falcon! Granted, kestrels are smaller members of the raptor family, but you still can't help but be impressed with how these birds defended their nest. It's easy to tell which is the male and female in this video, because the females incubate the eggs while the males do the foraging for food. It was fortunate timing in this incident that both parents were in the box when the kestrel arrived.

This video does have us scratching our heads a bit wondering what the falcon hoped to gain by entering the box. Kestrels don't eat bird eggs. They do prey on other birds, but not something as large as an owl. We may never know what spurred this incident. Although it's probably safe to assume the kestrel learned a lesson about raiding other birds' nests that it won't soon forget!

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