Our house has a balcony across one end with the roof extending over the balcony. Across the balcony at ceiling height are two large cross-beams which reach from one side of the roof to the other which would provide a very nicely sheltered perch.

Below one end of these beams we noticed white bird droppings and a number of pellets (the sort that birds of prey regurgitate). This started a few months ago although we didn’t see any sign of a bird. The pellets consisted mostly of fur with some beetle bits and no bones. Nocturnal birds of prey such as owls don’t digest bones and they would normally appear in the pellets so that ruled out owls. Day flying birds of prey digest bones so that they don’t appear in the pellets and that meant our bird was probably a diurnal bird of prey. Only some diurnal birds of prey eat beetles so that narrowed the choices somewhat.

A few days ago I chanced to be in the upstairs room which gives access to the balcony when a largish bird appeared from around the side of the roof and swooped up to where the beams would be but out of my sight. Just at that point Amanda came into the room and we tried to get a look at the bird but it must have seen us because we both saw it fly away. It didn’t fly very far and settled on the roof of one of our greenhouses. We could see that it had a mouse or vole clasped in it’s left foot and it looked very much like a Kestrel. At this point it flew off out of sight.

I saw it once again a day or two later and noticed a black bar across the end of it’s tail and that, together with the speckled brown plumage identified it as a Kestrel.

So it appears that we have a Kestrel as a semi-permanent lodger which is rather nice but I bet it won’t clear up the mess on the balcony floor.