Kestrel Nesting Project

The Mitsui Ranch is home to 43 wooden nest boxes designed to attract nesting American kestrels (Falco sparverius). Kestrels are North America’s smallest falcons and they are widespread across the continent. They can often be seen hovering over grasslands or perched on a post or wire throughout range lands and agricultural field edges. Their diet is highly varied and includes insects, small mammals, birds, and reptiles. An observer must get quite close to these birds to appreciate their strikingly beautiful plumage. Our nest box project was initiated and maintained by Elizabeth (Beth) Wommack, a doctoral candidate in the laboratory of Professor Raurie Bowie at the University of California’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology (MVZ), and Department of Integrative Biology at Berkeley. Beth’s research centered on the question of how feather color, and patterns, of male kestrels influence their genetic fitness. In other words, do males with brighter colors and bolder or distinctive color patterns have more success at fledging more and healthier chicks and, if so, is that fitness passed through subsequent generations?
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Kestrel nesting box

Kestrel nesting box