Are Kestrels in Trouble?


American Kestrel

WC thinks that American Kestrels are in decline in Interior Alaska. According to Birds of North America (fee) there has been “a slight but significant overall decrease in the Western Region” populations. Interior Alaska, at the far edge of the Kestrel’s range, seems to have suffered a more significant impact, although WC doesn’t have anything but anecdotal evidence.

Where before a birder might see 10-15 kestrels around Fairbanks during the summer, now they aren’t seen at all until the start of Fall migration. No one WC knows had an occupied nest box.

It’s a shame, because these are handsome, feisty birds, prey on a lot of the pests that bother humankind, and make very good neighbors. Older birders may still call them Sparrowhawks, but they tend to eat more voles and mice and grasshopper than small birds.

By any name they brighten our lives, and it would be a real shame if they stopped breeding here. This male was photographed along Goldstream Road last weekend. I hope he returns and breeds here.

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