Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

2016 Nest Box Season

American Kestrel

Falco Sparverius

Tower nest box
4/10 checked tower cam video  - female in box incubating.
4/23 checked tower cam – female flushes – 5 eggs.
5/9 female incubating 5 eggs
5/18 adults feeding 5 nestlings
5/22 5 nestlings growing and doing well.
6/8 began photographing kestrels at tower entrance.
6/9 First fledges
6/10 All five have fledged





Kestrel box A
3/15 Male kestrel makes many visits to box A
3/15 Pair starlings trapped in box A
3/17 Female kestrel enters box A with male for first time
Both kestrels enter box A daily, as well as starlings and male flicker
4/8 Female kestrel lays first egg in
box A
4/10 female remains in nest box at night
4/11 2nd kestrel egg. Cold weather- female incubates
4/13 3rd egg laid, 4/15 4th egg laid, 4/17 5th egg laid
5/14 kestrel hatch day
6/12 3 kestrels fledge, 6/14 4th kestrel fledges, 6/15 5th kestrel fledges

While the renewed success at both the barn and tower nests is reassuring, there is much evidence that kestrel populations in the Northeast and mid Atlantic are losing ground.  Also, it has been reported that kestrel nests located along busy roadways or near noisy human activity are prone to desertion.  Our kestrel tower is 200 feet from a busy state highway and cedar trees along the road are now as high as the tower, blocking most of the truck noise. The cause of the 2014 nesting failures in both boxes and the 2015 tower desertion are still unknown, but, given their prior success, it is unlikely that location was a factor. Many nest box trails are mounted on utility poles along highways as a matter of convenience and economy.  And, of course, pesticides, especially rodenticides are always a concern when it comes to birds of prey.

Male American kestrel at tower box
Kestrel nestling watching for adult to return with prey
Male kestrel at tower
Nestling kestrel watching for adult's return with prey
Fledgling from box A, now confused in wagon shed
Observation blind at the tower
A fledgling kestrel from box A
The photo blind at the kestrel tower
Female American kestrel at tower nest
The tower blind
Kestrel female at the tower
The tower blind

Kestrel population decline in much of northeastern North America, including the mid-Atlantic has become of concern to many, including myself. Below are a few links to recent kestrel study.
Regional maps of kestrel population change
Raptor Watch
Kestrels nesting near human activity show elevated corticosterone levels
The full paper referenced above
The Case of the American Kestrel
Migration Monitoring Indicates Widespread Declines of
American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in North America

2010 American kestrel nesting
2012-2016 kestrel nesting
2002-2006 kestrel nesting
2001 American kestrel nesting
Kestrel tower
The American Kestrel
More on American kestrels

2010 - 2014 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
barn swallow artificial nest cups
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
Entire site index (outdated)
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
Eastern wood-pewee
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Blue-gray gnatcatcher
turkey vulture
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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