BOISE, Idaho – Once common all across North America, the colorful American Kestrel is in a steady decline, with populations decreasing by 47 percent over the last 45 years. To find out why this is occurring and how to stop it, The Peregrine Fund has launched a new project called the American Kestrel Partnership.
The project will bring together citizen scientists and professional researchers to create the largest kestrel research and conservation effort in history, said Matt Giovanni, a research biologist who is directing the project.
“The success of this project depends on the public collecting and recording their observations across North America,” Giovanni said. “Researchers will then use that data to discover how kestrels are affected by environmental and biological issues, which may also be affecting other species, including humans.”
The Partnership’s new website (http://kestrel.peregrinefund.org) will allow citizen scientists of all ages and experience levels to:
“Even if kestrel enthusiasts don’t have a nest box to monitor, our kestrelcams bring the excitement of watching adult kestrels raising their young right into a home or classroom,” Giovanni said. “Observers can report daily activities, such as when food comes to the nest or a chick hatches.”
Information compiled by The Peregrine Fund from bird counts and other research shows:
“We want to understand and address these steady population declines before kestrels become even more rare,” Giovanni said. “It is far more effective and affordable to address the problem now.”
Reasons for the decline are unclear but may be due to changing land use, competition from other birds, toxins like pesticides or pollution, or climate change. Professional scientists will use the data collected by citizen scientists to understand and address population declines, he said.
“We are confident that uniting citizen scientists and professional researchers will result in a successful effort to conserve the American Kestrel for generations to come,” Giovanni said.
|Director of Community Engagement|