Last year, I was approached by Alice, the enthusiastic and hard working Chair of our Parochial Church Council, about the problems caused by kestrels nesting in the tower of our Grade 1 listed mediaeval church. Unfortunately, whilst we encourage wildlife here in mid-Suffolk, the cost of cleaning and of making good the damage is a burden best avoided.
And so, it was resolved that a nesting box suitable for kestrels be purchased, and I asked one of our residents, whose father makes such things, to build something appropriate, writing a personal cheque to speed up the process. In due course, I heard that the box had been placed in the churchyard, and all that was left to do was wait and see.
Last weekend, the phone rang. Stephen, whose father had built the box, had checked it and found that, not only was it in use, but it contained four kestrel fledglings, all seemingly in good health.
Cost of one kestrel box? £25. Savings for the Parochial Church Council? Hundreds, perhaps thousands, in the coming years. The thought of more kestrels flying free over the Creetings? Priceless...