Early in 2019, Naturalist Tami Gingrich kicked off an ambitious project that finished its first year with great success both for the residents of Geauga County and for a small bird of prey known as the American Kestrel.
The kestrel is not a hawk, but rather, a falcon, and a tiny one at that. Standing just around 10 inches tall, these striking birds characteristically perch on electrical wires adjacent to their favorite habitat of expansive grasslands which harbor their main prey items, which include insects, rodents, small birds and snakes.
Sadly, over the past 50 years, the kestrel’s population has plummeted by 50 percent. Although scientists don’t know for sure, this decline is likely due to a combination of factors including loss of habitat and nesting sites, exposure to pesticides, climate change and increased predation by hawks.
In designing the project, it was Tami’s hope to have Geauga Park District partner with local landowners who had perfect kestrel habitat and would be willing to accept a nesting box given to them by the park. Landowners would work with her to decide on an optimal box location, and be willing to install and maintain it. Those who were interested and had the time would also be trained on how to monitor their box.
This project resulted in 11 new boxes installed this past spring – two within Geauga Park District, seven on Amish farms, and two at the site of local businesses.
Join Tami as she divulges the results of this project in its first year, discusses its successes and challenges, and looks forward to its expansion in the future, during a presentation entitled American Kestrel Nest Box Project on Saturday, November 30th, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at The West Woods Nature Center.
The West Woods Nature Center, located at 9465 Kinsman Road (Route 87) in Russell Township, is fully wheelchair/stroller accessible. Registration is not required to attend. Please call ahead with questions.
For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Pictured In Cover Photo: American Kestrel Project 2018
Cover Photo Credit: Chris Mentrek