Readers’ wildlife videos

We have three videos today, and photos will resume tomorrow with a lovely post on owls from Bruce Lyon. But today we have some really nice videos. The first two are is from Stephen Barnard, who built a nest box, affixed to his garage, for a pair of American kestrels (Falco sparverius) to nest. They took him up on the offer, and there is at least one chick (there are likely more). That chick made its first appearance on video a few days ago, and here it is. Stephen’s notes are indented, and be sure to enlarge the first two Vimeo clips.

A kestrel chick takes a first look at the world outside the nest box.

Here’s a better closeup video shot a few hours later. The chick is curious, tracking birds and something on the ground, possibly a vole or another bird. (Brewer’s Blackbirds and Western Kingbirds, among other species, inhabit the space. Poor Boris [the male kestrel] is chased away by the blackbirds every time he brings a vole.) It looks to me like the chick is training its visual system. The curious head-bobbing is, I believe, for the same reason.

Look at the huge eyes!

Rick Longworth sent a video he took of one of my favorite mammals, the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). I had a pet skunk for about 6-7 years, and the descented creature was delightful. Don’t denigrate the skunk! Rick’s notes are indented:

Last week I happened to spot movement through my west window.  Black and white. They had to be striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis).  A mom and 8 kits!  I was able to film them as the mother led them on short trips in and out of their den. Up and down the bank.  I think she was looking for a new home but couldn’t decide where to go.  The youngsters found innumerable distractions along the way.  You can ID the mother by the bit of brown in the tail.

I told Rick I liked the video, having owned one of these gorgeous mammals, and he responded:

Glad you like it.  I was tempted to sneak over close and snip away some of the vegetation for a better view.  But I was a little nervous about upsetting the mom and getting “skunked” [sprayed with noxious fluid].


  1. nicky
    Posted June 24, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    In South Africa we have a kind of convergent evolution, the: muishond’ (litterally: mouse-dog), they are a kind of mongoose. The black and white ones are the real stinkers.

    • nicky
      Posted June 24, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Note, the equally black and white honey-badgers (ratels) don’t seriously stink, they are just fiercely badass, and will aggressively take on anybody. They are avoided as much as possible by other animals, including big predators.

  2. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted June 24, 2018 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Interesting stuff! Maybe name the kestrel chick ‘Rocky’?

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 24, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    Hard to tell with the birds chirping, but I think I detect a few skunk sounds mixed in. Am I correct?

    • rickflick
      Posted June 24, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      I don’t think it was skunk sounds. They were quite far away and silent as far as I could tell. The sounds are probably quail, which say “Chi-ca-go”; or Magpies, which have many calls and sounds some of which are quite vulgar.

      • Diane G
        Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:10 am | Permalink

        What part of the country do you live in, Rick? What species of quail (and magpie, for that matter) are you referring to?

        Skunks always seem to have such large litters!

        • rickflick
          Posted June 25, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          I’m near Marsing, Idaho. The quail are California quail, Callipepla californica. The Magpies are the black billed Magpie, Pica hudsonia.

          • Diane G
            Posted June 25, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            Oh, now I remember you mentioning that before! Thanks, and sorry for my sieve of a brain…

            Those are nice birds to have around.

            • rickflick
              Posted June 25, 2018 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

              The quail and magpie are ubiquitous so probably don’t merit much attention by locals. For me though, they are delightfully exotic and thrilling to see. 😎

              • Diane G
                Posted June 26, 2018 at 12:26 am | Permalink

                I know how that goes. I’ve lived in Oregon, New York, Texas, Massachusetts, and Michigan (with shorter stops in California and Maryland). One person’s ho-hum is another one’s oh-wow! 😀

                (For all that I’ve still never lived where there are local magpies, alas. Corvids are so interesting. Would see them in Eastern Oregon but they weren’t in the Willamette Valley where we resided.)

              • rickflick
                Posted June 26, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

                At some point I’m sure I’ll do some video of them. Quail too. Right now I’m focused on recording the the more quixotic residence – hummers, finches, owls, eagles, hawks, geese, pelicans…etc.

  4. Ann German
    Posted June 24, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a link to my favorite skunk video on the net, a bicyclist happend upon a skunk family and films them checking him out, including some great skunk noises:

    • rickflick
      Posted June 24, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good one. I notice, as with my skunks, the young almost trip up the mama by following too close.

      • Diane G
        Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:22 am | Permalink

        Yes, that is very interesting! It’s as if they all have to be in touch with each other/mama all the time.

      • Diane G
        Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:23 am | Permalink

        And I wonder why they seemed to be to habituated to humans.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 25, 2018 at 10:59 am | Permalink


          • Diane G
            Posted June 25, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

            That wouldn’t seem to be very adaptive…OTOH, we’re just another mammal that’s learned that we generally don’t want to get too close to skunks, and they seem to know that. 🙂

            IME, it takes a lot to get them to go off; and most of my dogs have learned their lesson after one encounter…

  5. Posted June 24, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Where, or under what circumstances, does one get a pet skunk

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted June 24, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

      Google it. You can get various genetic varieties.

  6. Diane G
    Posted June 25, 2018 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Love the juvenile Kestrel footage! Fascinating behavior. I’m glad you speculated on what reason there could be for the head bobbing, Stephen…makes sense to me.

  7. Posted June 25, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Kestrel babies! Boris and Natasha have been doing a thing after all.

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