Closing the box?

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Sue K
Sue K's picture
Closing the box?


I'm in WI and see Kestrels at home every day so they are nesting nearby. But they aren't using the box I intalled. So, is there any reason why I shouldn't cover the opening until fall? I've been seeing Starlings visiting the box just recently and would rather not wage war with them if I don't have to.

Thanks for any insight.


AKP-Matthew's picture

Hi Sue -

We're sorry to hear kestrels haven't moved in yet! There's still a possibility that you could end up with kestrels using your box this season—if a first nesting attempt nearby fails, the pair may try again in your box—but this certainly isn't a guarantee. You could also end up with native cavity nesting birds such as tree swallows or bluebirds nesting in the box, but you could also end up with starlings, as you're noticing.

If you definitely don't want starlings nesting in your box, covering the box opening until fall wouldn't be a bad idea. If you do decide to close up the box, please add a note that indicates this to a final observation you enter in our database this season. We do recommend that you open the box again in the fall (which it sounds like you're planning to do anyway) so that kestrels or other birds (woodpeckers, for example) can roost in the box on cold winter days.

We know a kestrel-less season isn't especially fun, but we sincerely appreciate you monitoring your box and submitting your data this spring anyway. Empty-box data allows us to look at local population trends, why kestrels select some boxes but not others, and much more than we could from kestrel observation data alone. And don't get discouraged—we see that your boxes were just installed last year, and it's typical that new boxes go unused for the first year or two. Hopefully 2022 will be a much more kestrel-tastic season for you :)

Thank you for your participation in the American Kestrel Partnership!

AKP Staff