Crawford parks join kestrel program

Crawford Park District has joined a partnership to install and monitor 16 nest boxes for American kestrels on highway signs in Crawford County.

Starting in April, volunteers are to visit the nest boxes around every two weeks to monitor their use by kestrels and other bird species. Volunteers assisted with installation of the nest boxes in November along a 23-mile stretch of US 30.

Other partners in the project include the Ohio Bird Conservation Initiative, Ohio Ornithological Society, Ohio Department of Transportation, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife and The American Kestrel Partnership.

An additional 25 nest boxes were installed in Wyandot County in early 2013, and students from The University of Findlay monitored them. In 2013, two of the boxes were used by kestrels for nesting, producing eight young.

American kestrel populations are decreasing across North America, including significant declines in Ohio. The species prefers open areas with short grass for hunting insects and small mammals. The birds nest in naturally-occurring cavities in trees, but also readily use nest boxes.

Nest box programs provide opportunities for kestrels to nest in areas that offer ample foraging habitat but lack natural nest cavities.

Donations to support the effort are being collected at