Owl Box Company - kestrel nest box

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vetrentschler
vetrentschler's picture
Owl Box Company - kestrel nest box

I am going to put up several Kestrel nest boxes on my two farms. Is the Owl Box Company - Kestrel nest box viable(ie do kestrels actually use them)? I like their light weight design and pole mounting capability. 
Also how close can Kestrel nest boxes be placed?

can barn owl boxes be placed on the same fields/farms as the Kestrel boxes?

 

thanks!

Tom Rentschler

Larchwood Iowa

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AKP-Matthew
AKP-Matthew's picture

Hi Tom -

We can't speak to whether or not kestrels would actually use these boxes, as we don't know of any partners that use this specific model. The general size and design elements are adequate for the species, so we see no reason kestrels would "turn up their beaks" at them. We do know of one partner in Colorado who uses repurposed plastic Wood Duck boxes for his network and reports high occupancy, but it's impossible to say whether his success with that model in that location would be replicated with this model in your location.

For the record, we're not big fans of plastic boxes. Yes, wood boxes are heavier and need to be replaced every decade or so, but this lack of longevity is a point in favor of wood in our opinion. Wood boxes are biodegradable, while plastic boxes aren't; plastic boxes often aren't recycleable and can shed secondary microplastics and leach chemicals such as BPA, PFAS, phthalates, and other chemicals into the environment as they age. Ultimately the decision is yours, however, and we understand why some of our partners opt to go with plastic for their networks.

To answer your specific questions, we recommend that kestrel boxes be placed at least a half-mile (0.8 km) apart to prevent territorial squabbles. If habitat is good and prey plentiful, however, boxes closer together may be occupied; one report from Colorado indicated successful kestrel nests in three Wood Duck boxes all within 200 ft (60 m) of one another in a particularly good year, but this is a massive outlier.

We aren't familiar with any direct research on the effects of placing barn owl and kestrel boxes in close proximity to one another. Barn Owls have been observed to prey on American Kestrels on rare occasions, but the two species are typically active at different times of day and so don't often come into contact with one another. Bottom line, installing boxes for both species in the same field will likely have no effect on whether Barn Owls move in; the kestrels might be a little leery about their larger neighbors, but their presence won't necessarily prevent kestrels from occupying a box, especially if the habitat and prey availability are conducive.

Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any further questions.

Matthew
AKP Staff

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