The American Kestrel is colorful, easy to identify, widespread, and has a strong affinity for nestboxes—all of which make it an ideal candidate for citizen science. The American Kestrel Partnership is coordinating a web-based network of independently managed nestbox monitoring programs to generate data and model relationships between nesting performance and environmental factors, such as land use, environmental toxins, climate, and competition with or depredation by other species. We are also collaborating with professional scientists to conduct research on toxicology, genetics, physiology, and demographics of fledgling and adult kestrels.
Data from the US Geological Survey’s Breeding Bird Survey, National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, various nestbox monitoring programs, and migration counts, collectively indicate long-term declines of American Kestrel populations in many regions of North America. The causes are unknown, largely because of insufficient data, highlighting the need to generate data, models, and conservation strategies.