General Discussion : Nest box installation density and territory size?

This question was previously mentioned amongst other questions in an earlier post

I'd like to learn about kestrel territory size and nesting density, and how that influences standards of distance between nest boxes.  One of my neighbors and I both want to put up kestrel boxes, and would like input on how many we should install.


Nu-Sun Cinema's picture

American Kestrels favor open areas with short ground vegetation and sparse trees.Their home range approximately 4.5 to 5.2 square kilometers. We have 2 nest boxes which are at different heights and about 100 feet apart. In our 7+ years of studies they have nested in both boxes but never 2 couples in both boxes at the same time. So we assume that if nest boxes are to close to each other once a pair of Kestrels have claimed the area they will prevent another pair from invading their territory. Installing several boxes give the Kestrels options for nesting.

We are not claiming these statements are fact but an educated guess.

Thank you ,

Nu-Sun Cinema

Julian's picture

From Birds of North America Online:  Typical breeding habitat in ne. or midwest U.S.: large (>25 ha) pasture or recently fallowed field, with 1 or few isolated large dead trees for nesting and several potential perches (trees or utility lines; JAS).

Delorahilleary's picture

From Smallwood and Bird, 2002:

"Territoriality - Tolerance of other pairs nesting in immediate vicinity highly variage, closest on record bing 12.2m apart (Smith et al. 1972).

Nesting densities vary greatly: typically from 0.11 to 1.74 pairs/km2 but as high as 5/4 and 24.7 pairs/km2 (see review by Bird and Palmer 1988); little information on actual delineation of territory size, however. Presumably, territory size and nesting densities are a function of food and nest-site availability. In Utah, smaller home ranges indicated higher densisites; pairs boredered by adjacent pairs had smaller home ranges than solitary pairs (Smith et al. 1972)."

The article discusses what I suspected - it seems territories vary a lot with food resource availability and nest site availability. This is certainly one thing we can study with our nationwide nest box program!


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Posted in General Discussion by Paul - SoftwareDev 1 year 6 months ago.