Raptor reversal is a mystery

This year we are seeing nankeen kestrels hovering over paddocks and perched on roadside wires. Last year we had black-shouldered kites but no nankeen kestrels. Can you explain?

RAPTOR PUZZLE: Nankeen kestral numbers have increased in recent times.

RAPTOR PUZZLE: Nankeen kestral numbers have increased in recent times.

L.Y., Elaine.

Black-shouldered kites have been scarce this year however, they were fairly common for a few years ago.

The kestrels seem to have replaced them, but I cannot explain why one is now common and the other has almost disappeared.

Both feed on mice and large insects and with large mouse numbers, we could expect black-shouldered kites, but this has not yet eventuated.

Numbers of black-shouldered kites have always fluctuated more than those of nankeen kestrels. Perhaps the kite population is currently centred in inland regions.

Send questions and photos to Roger Thomas at The Courier, PO Box 21, Ballarat, 3353, or email rthomas@vic.australis.com.au