Richard and Diane Van Vleck Personal Pages
The Home Habitat

American Kestrel

Falco sparverius

Kestrels are quite common in the open farmland of rural Maryland. Ours have always taken to nestboxes, both at the creek and in the yard. While we have enjoyed having them up near the house, we are going to lure them further away this year in deference to our new purple martin colony. The kestrels have posed no problem for the barn swallows in the past 15 years, even though their box is mounted on the barn directly over the swallows' entrance. However, kestrels have been known to wipe out entire martin colonies, since the large entrance holes required by martins allow them easy access. While our kestrels spend a great deal of time around the barn in winter, they dine primarily on grasshoppers and voles during the nesting season. The martins have handled the kestrels quite well in the past two seasons, but it will be nice to have the kestrels further away.

Four older kestrel nestlings in nest box younger American kestrel nestlings in nest box


2021 Kestrel nestings and predation
2016-2017 Kestrel Nesting
2019 kestrel nestings
2010 American kestrel nesting
2012-2015 kestrel nesting
2002-2006 kestrel nesting
2001 American kestrel nesting
Kestrel tower
The American Kestrel
More on American kestrels

2022 update - Return of the barn owls
2021 Chimney Swift tower success!!!
2020 Barn Swallow nesting
Barn swallow nest cups
2019 Barn Swallows and Black Rat Snakes

2018 - The Barnyard Balance of Nature Goes Awry
Black rat snakes vs barn swallows, Northern flickers, kestrels and others

2018 Purple Martin preference for clam shells
2017 - Return of the Monarchs!
2017 Purple Martin prey photos
2010 - 2016 Northern flicker nestings
2014 house wren gourd use
2014 - A dramatic loss of many types of insects
2019-2020 Purple Martin nesting
2014 barn owl nesting - prey study
A new barn swallow shelter for 2013
2010 barn owl nesting
2010 Update
2016-2017 Kestrel nestings
Starling traps
Using blinds in the home habitat
Providing perches for birds
Providing snags for wildlife
The ugly young maple
2001 - 2013 nest cams
Use of tomato cages as hunting perches by insectivorous song birds
Vultures, beetles and the resurrection of life

Species of interest in our yard - photos and articles
barn owl American kestrel purple martin barn swallow Eastern bluebird
tufted titmouse Eastern phoebe yellow shafted flicker tree swallow chimney swift
house wren big brown bat Carolina wren brown thrasher catbird
cedar waxwing Northern mockingbird
Yellow warbler Acadian flycatcher

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