American Kestrel Nesting Study

American Kestrel pair on a nest box © Paul McCarthy
American Kestrels © Paul McCarthy
Project Overview

American Kestrel populations are declining in Massachusetts and much of North America, and the causes of these declines are not yet known.

That's why a multi-state research program has recently been established to better understand the full-year life cycle of this species. Research will include breeding biology, spring and fall migrations, and wintering ecology.

A key component of this project revolves around nest sites. In 2021, researchers will need to know these locations so they can capture birds and fit them with very small radio transmitters. Tagged kestrels can then be automatically detected when they fly near receiving stations distributed throughout North and Central America.

You can help us find kestrel nesting sites within Massachusetts during the 2020 breeding season.

How You Can Help

Data collection runs May 20–August 20

We're asking volunteers to help with this exciting project by locating and reporting American Kestrel nesting sites found within Massachusetts during the 2020 breeding season.

This project aims to collect data from all over the Commonwealth. Kestrels breed widely throughout the state, and there are both urban-nesting and farmland-nesting populations. As always, all nest data is kept strictly within the community of biologists working to conserve this species.

The survey period will run from May 20–August 20 to reduce potential confusion between observations of nesting and migrating individuals.