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Students in the woodworking class at Hanover High School recently completed construction of several American Kestrel boxes, which they then donated to the VINS kestrel monitoring project. Using a completed box as a model, the students were able to draw up plans to build their own boxes using materials that were already available in their school’s workshop. VINS Research Coordinator Jim Armbruster then joined the class for a presentation about kestrel life history and an introduction to our monitoring program.
The donated boxes will be made available to landowners with kestrels on their properties in the hopes that pairs will use them during the next breeding season. The boxes will be monitored throughout the year, and if the project is successful, the young kestrels who hatch and grow up in the boxes will be banded prior to fledging.
American Kestrels are declining throughout their range, including in Vermont and New Hampshire. Kestrels prefer open areas like fields and meadows with tree cavities to nest, but changing land use alters their habitat and limits nesting options. Installing nest boxes in suitable habitat is thought to be one way to help conserve the species. Over 30 nestlings were banded by Dave Merker, VINS volunteer, last season and we hope to add more in the coming years.
A special thanks to Kevin Lavigne for reaching out to VINS from Hanover High and for taking on leading construction of the kestrel boxes. We hope to continue this partnership in the future and add more student-built boxes to the growing network.
Stay tuned for more updates on this project and for ways to get involved!
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