The Kestrel Nest Box
Our Innovative Design, Where and How to Install for Attracting Kestrels, and Using Kestrels for Natural Rodent Control
The Kestrel Nest Box
The Barn Owl Box Company has used its experience to produce the lightest, driest, longest lasting nest box for kestrels on the market. We incorporate many of the unique features of the Barn Owl Box to create a cutting edge nest box for kestrels. Like the Barn Owl Box, the Kestrel Nest Box is constructed of rugged, long-lasting, molded plastic, yet is so lightweight at 5.5 pounds that it can be carried in one hand and mounted on a simple 1” diameter metal pole. The Kestrel Box also uses our patented system of radiant heat-reflective white pigments and efficient venting to keep the box cool. The large rainguard over the entrance hole and our unique, rainproof vent-wings combine to produce the driest, snuggest nest box on the market. The Kestrel Nest Box will far outlast any wooden boxes, is so lightweight it is extremely easy to install and, unlike other plastic nest boxes, the Kestrel Nest Box will not overheat in full sun.
The Kestrel Nest Box Features:
- Rugged construction of molded 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 rain guard 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: Kestrels are open field hunters. 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.
- Most sources quote an optimum height of 12 feet.
- 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, 12 feet up on a metal pole, facing southeast.
For more information on kestrels and using kestrels for natural rodent control, go to our page on Kestrel Biology.
Where Kestrels Live in the United States
The Kestrel breeds throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Alaska. The only exceptions are southern parts of FL, LA, TX, and NM. You casn
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- Combine day-hunting kestrels with nocturnal-hunting barn owls to hit rodent populations around the clock.
- During breeding season, a kestrel family can consume upwards of 500 voles or mice, and a large number of injurious insects including grasshoppers and locusts.
- Numerous farmers of various crops have been erecting kestrel nest boxes for decades.
- An added benefit is simply having these beautiful, acrobatic hunters around.
The Kestrel and Rodent Control
During its three month breeding season, a kestrel family can consume upwards of 500 voles or mice, and a large number of injurious insects including grasshoppers and locusts. Used in conjunction with the nocturnal barn owl, the diurnal kestrel increases pressure on the local rodent population. Numerous farmers of various crops have been erecting kestrel boxes for decades. An added benefit is simply having these beautiful, acrobatic hunters around.
Links to Websites on Using Kestrels for Natural Rodent Control
- Audubon video on using kestrels in vineyards:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31ijYw4R580
- Controlling Rodents on Organic Farms: (http://www.foodforestfoods.com/id56.html
- Managing Habitat for American Kestrels: http://pubs.cas.psu.edu/freepubs/pdfs/uh159.pdf
- On the city of Green Bay, WI using kestrel nest boxes: http://birding.about.com/b/2012/01/11/attracting-birds-for-pest-control.htm
- One of the best, most comprehensive scientific papers on nest site selection in kestrels: http://elibrary.unm.edu/sora/Wilson/v109n03/p0410-p0423.pdf