Kestrel couple make a few birdies on St Andrews golf course

Kes and Mrs Kes have successfully produced 21 chicks at the Castle Course kestrel box.

A couple of kestrels are going a fairway to saving their species by making a few birdies in St Andrews.

Greenkeepers built a kestrel box on the Castle Course in 2018, and it has become home to a returning pair of birds affectionately known as Kes and Mrs Kes.

Since they moved into the box, 21 chicks have successfully hatched and helped boost a bird population left endangered due to a loss of habitat.

Trevor Harris, a ranger with St Andrews Links Trust, said all of the previous year’s chicks survived.

He said: “It’s quite surprising to have all six survive in a year because usually you get one, maybe two, that won’t make it due to food.

“But due to the fact the golf course and greenkeepers have got such good management of the grass lands and the heavy roughs, there’s plenty feeding for them.

“The golfers love it. They love to see them flying, they always come up and ask when the kestrels are arriving back and how many we have got this year.”

The box was awarded the Ecological Project of the Year at the 2023 Golf Environment Awards.

Sandy Reid, director of greenkeeping at the links, said looking after nature was an important part of maintaining the golf course.

He said: “Around 30% of our ground is habitat for species, so we’re very proud of that.

“The environment is very important to everything we do and managing the golf course is at the forefront of our mind, whether it’s looking after the roughs, our water managements, or the bio-diversity we have across the whole estate.”

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