Kestrel Nest Box Project

Project Description

Beginning with one nest box fledging five American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in 1988, the Central Oregon Kestrel Box Trail is one of the largest and most successful in North America. Since 2005, the average number of kestrels fledged annually is between 151 and 196 with a record 236 fledged in 2015. Nest boxes are monitored frequently throughout the breeding season. Additionally, a licensed bander with support from ECAS volunteers, band fledglings each year. Nesting data is reported to a national data bank.

Why We Do This and What We Have Learned

Researchers with this project have learned that warm weather in May and June leads to greater survival of young kestrels due to greater prey availability. They eat mostly insects and small rodents, both of which are more active in warmer spring weather.

Data gathered by field volunteers are reported to the Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Partnership. They report that the kestrel population trends positive for the Deschutes and Madras survey counts, contrasting with most of the rest of Oregon which trends negative.

What Volunteers Do

A small group of about a dozen volunteers monitor nest boxes and band fledglings.

Project Focus Areas

  • Population Monitoring
  • Bird Conservation

Would You Like to Volunteer?

As this is a carefully regulated activity with standards set by wildlife biologists, the group of volunteers is well-trained and mostly stable. This means that opportunities for volunteers are rare, but you can participate by keeping your eyes open for banded kestrels!