American Kestrel Nest Box Success

According to the Breeding Bird Survey from 1966-2008, American Kestrels have experienced an average annual decline in Minnesota of 2.1%, for a total decline of 59% over 43 years. 

In spring 2012, Audubon Minnesota joined the American Kestrel Partnership led by the Peregrine Fund to help build and monitor kestrel nest boxes.

Participation in this partnership has been a great success in three ways:

  1. Conservation: We have increased nesting habitat for an important grassland bird species in Minnesota and through volunteer monitoring, we are helping researchers learn more about some of the possible reasons behind the kestrel decline.
  2. Johnny and Thatee MN Troop 100

    Johnny and Thatee from Boy Scout Troop 100

    Outreach: We worked with two amazing youth programs, Boy Scout Troop 100 and Elpis Enterprises, to construct and distribute 50 nest boxes throughout the state. The kids not only learned about woodworking and kestrels, but some were also involved in placing the boxes and gained a better understanding about some of the simple things people can do to help wildlife.
  3. Collaboration and Building Partnerships: As a statewide effort, this project enlisted the participation of Audubon chapters, partners and volunteers to place and monitor many of the boxes.

Project Highlights

  • Ten of the boxes went up to the Agassiz Audubon Chapter. Each box was mounted near the Audubon Center of the Red River Valley with the assistance of the Polk Kittson Marshal Electric Cooperative who provided old utility poles.
  • American Kestrel chick
    American Kestrel chick from nest box at Bruce Vento Sanctuary
    We worked with St Paul Audubon Society members who built and placed a box at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary. A pair of kestrels occupied this box last spring and successfully reared 5 young. We were able to place identifying USFWS leg bands on the chicks and are looking forward to spring 2013, hoping to see some of the young return and the adults use the box for a second season!

Get Involved!

In Minnesota, American Kestrels begin courtship in March and typically lay their eggs in the beginning of April. If you are interested in placing a kestrel box in your area, spring is the perfect time!

Click on the following links to learn more:

American Kestrel nest structures 

American Kestrel Nest Box Plan by Art Gingert

Build an American Kestrel Nest Box by the American Kestrel Partnership

American Kestrel Partnership

Copyright  2013 National Audubon Society, Inc

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