HawkWatch International (HWI) is conducting citizen science research in an effort to better understand the causes behind declines of American Kestrels. Click here to view the American Kestrel citizen science flier.
Long-term population data collected by HWI, and corroborated by other researchers, indicate long-term declines of American Kestrel populations in regions across the nation. The cause(s) have yet to be determined, but potential factors include land-use change, predation, contaminants, and loss of/competition for nesting cavities. Additional research is needed before conservation steps can be taken.
During the 2014 spring season and into the foreseeable future, HWI staff and volunteers will monitor approximately 130 nestboxes in four different types of landscape across the Wasatch Front: wildland areas of intact native shoreline or shrub-steppe, agricultural areas, urbanizing areas transitioning from agriculture or wildland, and heavily developed areas. We plan to install 30 boxes during the 2015 nesting season and more in the future. Our efforts will give us a glimpse into landscape-specific reproduction and survival of the American Kestrel, which may help explain the reasons behind declines.
In addition to learning about Kestrel populations in Utah, HWI is a partner in the American Kestrel Partnership. The partnership is a network of independently managed nestbox monitoring programs to generate data and model relationships between nesting performance and environmental factors across North America.
Citizen scientists will monitor the nestboxes to:
- Determine use by American Kestrels and other cavity nesting species.
- Measure % success and other breeding metrics for nests in landscapes with varying levels of human impact.
- Document predator activity near boxes in different landscapes.
- Estimate feeding rates and food habits in different landscapes.
There is now a Facebook Group for volunteers of HWI's American Kestrel Study. Click here to join and get in-season updates, share pictures, and find out what's happening across the study area.
Kestrel Project Updates
- 3/14/14 Orientation training for the 2014 season will be held on Tuesday, March 25 at our offices. This is a mandatory orientation if you would like to participate in the project this season.
- 3/26/14 Thanks to everyone that came out to the information session yesterday. If you missed it, it is not too late to participate. Contact us by the end of the week and we should still be able to set you up to monitor boxes.