American Kestrels

A male American Kestrel in San Luis Obispo, California © Alan Vernon, wikimedia
A male American Kestrel in San Luis Obispo, California © Alan Vernon, wikimedia

Anyone who has ever seen an American Kestrel hover above a meadow just before diving on its prey can appreciate the beauty of this colorful bird. Unfortunately, our smallest falcon is in big trouble.

Kestrels have been recorded in the Bay State since the early days of European settlement. Only 50 years ago, they could be seen perched on a tree or utility pole near any field of sufficient size. Now, they are becoming more and more difficult to find. Three major indices (Christmas Bird Counts, Breeding Bird Atlases, and Breeding Bird Surveys) all confirm that the population of American Kestrels in Massachusetts has dropped precipitously in the past few decades.

In response, Mass Audubon launched the American Kestrel Project with the goal of learning more about where American Kestrels are nesting, and what habitats they prefer to use for nesting.

How You Can Help

There are several ways for you to get involved and help the American Kestrel population recover.

Report a Sighting

Every kestrel sighting tells us something about how kestrels use the landscape, and with the help of our eagle-eyed volunteers, these raptors can take the first step to staging a comeback in the Bay State. Report a sighting


Building the nest boxes, mounting them on poles, and getting them where they need to go entail significant expenses. By donating to Mass Audubon, you can help fund new homes for kestrels in need. Donate today!


If you've got a lot of time and enthusiasm, we could use your help as a volunteer Kestrel Box Monitor. Volunteers will be assigned to check boxes frequently during the breeding season and to record important breeding data for use in evaluating the effectiveness of the program.