By Joe McFarlane
A professional wildlife photographer helped care for orphaned baby Kestrels after their mother unfortunately passed away.
Robert Fuller has carved out a successful career as a professional wildlife artist and photographer from his home in Malton, North Yorkshire.
But throughout May and June, Robert also took on a new role, as five baby kestrels were orphaned at the age of just two days old after the sudden and unexpected death of their mum.
Rescuing the defenceless chicks from the nesting box close to his home, Robert took the tiny birds to a rehabilitation centre, where they were cared for and looked after for two months.
Once on the mend and grown large and strong enough, the kestrels were released back into the wild.
Robert said: “I had to work quickly since the chicks were too tiny to survive on their own. I lifted their mother off them and carefully took the chicks out from under her.
“Tucking all the chicks into my jumper to keep them warm, I carried them inside and quickly found a box and a heated mat to put them in whilst I made arrangements for my local wildlife rehabilitation centre to take them in.”
Robert was pleasantly surprised with the progress the chicks quickly made over the several weeks of their rehabilitation.
Robert said: “I opened the door to the enclosure and watched them hop out with surprising confidence. It was an incredible feeling to watch them as they flew free over the trees at the edge of my garden.
“These chicks had survived such a disastrous start and here they were flying free on the wing.
“Then something even more incredible happened: after resting on the branch of a tree and testing themselves on the wing once more, all three fledglings flew back to the tower I had released them from. This was important because it meant that they saw the tower as home.
“Over the next few weeks, I left the door to the enclosure open so that they could come and go as they pleased. It was fun to watch them explore the garden. It was amazing to see how inquisitive they were.
“It was another two months before the Kestrels eventually left the garden and set out to find territories of their own.
“I still miss the sound of them calling out to me whenever I step out of the back door but it is great to think that they made it despite their tragic start.”