HawkWatch International will be conducting an American Kestrel nestbox monitoring project with citizen science volunteers beginning spring 2013. Project participants will install 50-100 nestboxes throughout Utah’s Great Basin to get a glimpse into the breeding stages of the Kestrel lifecycle. Data collected by HawkWatch International and corroborated by other surveying organizations indicate long-term declines of American Kestrel populations throughout many regions across the nation. The cause(s) have yet to be determined due to insufficient data and lack of research. This project will collaborate with the American Kestrel Partnership, a program coordinated by The Peregrine Fund, to determine the causes and take immediate conservation action. The partnership is a network of independently managed nestbox monitoring programs to generate data and model relationships between nesting performance and environmental factors, such as land use and habitat loss, human disturbance, predation, contaminents and disease, climate change, poor foraging and nutrition, and competition with or depredation by other invasive cavity-dwelling species.
Citizen scientists will monitor the nestboxes to:
- Compare urban vs. rural habitats in the Great Basin.
- Create a quasi-experimental approach with random locations.
- Estimate clutch, brood size, survivorship.
- Determine and compare sources of predation.
- Determine and compare sources of competition.
- Determine and compare sources of diet.
- Use long-term banding to compare fidelity, breeding, and natal dispersal.
THANKS to Mike Shaw and all of our citizen science volunteers for their time on this project, and a SPECIAL THANKS to Robert Stevens of Highland High School and his woodshop classes for helping build our Kestrel nestboxes!