The Kestrel Nest Box Features:
- Rugged construction of rotomolded plastic
- Weight of only 5.5 pounds
- 16” high with a 9” x 9” floor
- An interior mesh ladder beneath the entrance hole for birds to climb
- A large rainguard above the entrance hole
- Unique “vent wings” that allow air in but keep moisture out
- Heat reflective pigment and efficient venting to prevent overheating
- A 6” x 8” access panel for checking on nests and cleaning
- A molded-in channel to accept a 1” mounting pole
- All the hardware needed for mounting to a pole
- An alternative bracket system for mounting box to wooden post, tree, or outbuilding
Where and How to Install Kestrel Nest Boxes
- Habitat: Install kestrel nest boxes in the proper environment of open fields, croplands, orchards, or pastures.
- The best direction to face kestrel boxes is easterly, with southeast, east, and northeast being best respectively. Avoid southwest, not that kestrels have not nested in this direction but because fewer kestrels nest facing this direction.
- Try to install nest boxes at least four hundred feet from the nearest woods to deter occupation by squirrels, chipmunks, house wrens, and sparrows.
- The best mounting method is on a smooth metal pole. The pole discourages climbing predators. However, mounting on trees also meets with success.
- Although plenty of sites on the Internet suggest a height of 10 feet, a height of 8 feeet is plenty, just as it is with the barn owl.
- Nest boxes can be placed at a density of one for every fifty acres.
- Typical size of territory is approximately 1/3 of a mile (.5 km) in diameter.
- To summarize: for optimum chance of nesting success, install Kestrel nest boxes in the open, 500 feet from the nearest woods, 8 to 10 feet up on a metal pole, facing southeast.
Using Kestrels in Conjunction with Barn Owls to Control Rodents
Attracting kestrels to a farm or property where barn owls are being utilized to help reduce rodent numbers is an excellent method of increasing hunting pressure on rodent pests. For one, since the barn owls hunt at night, and the kestrels hunt during the day, the two species can keep up pressure on rodents. Just the presence of flying kestrels can reduce rodent foraging activity, thus keeping down crop damage. Also, kestrels tend to eat smaller prey–younger animals, and sometimes different species such as house mice. This means that different ages and sizes of the rodent population are harvested.
A side benefit of establishing kestrel nest boxes to attract kestrels is adding to the conservation efforts for this species which has been shown to be declining in a number of states. Since a lack of suitable nesting sites is often cited as the single most limiting factor to kestrel populations, erecting nest boxes in suitable habitat is an excellent way of contributing to healthy populations of this beautiful falcon.