presented as an
educational service by the
CENTER/CAROLINA RAPTOR ASSOCIATION
PO Box 16443,
Charlotte, North Carolina 28297-6443
The Carolina Raptor Center is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, public
corporation dedicated to the rehabilitation, research, reproduction, and conservation of
birds of prey and the education of the public of the public.
The American Kestrel (Falco
sparverius) also known as the Sparrow Hawk, is the smallest and most brightly colored
falcon in North America. Falcons are fast flying hawks, jets of the bird world, due
to their long, narrow wings. Kestrels prefer open habitats and are often seen
perched on wires along country roads. They are about the size of Mourning Doves and can be
unfortunate victims of mistaken identity during dove hunting season.
Kestrels are versatile hunters that
take insects whenever they can be found, but shift to hunting for mice when insects are
not available. Kestrels nest in holes and breed only where natural or man-made
cavities exist. Thus their local breeding distribution is limited by the
availability of suitable nest sites. The Carolina Raptor Center encourages you to
help this beneficial and attractive raptor by building a kestrel box!
Help protect natural nest and roost sites. Dead trees are valuable to our
Use wood that weathers well (1" thick western cedar, cypress, or redwood) for best
results and durability.
Remove protrusions (nails or screws) that can cause injury to the birds.
If necessary, paint or stain only the outside of the box.
Since kestrels take no nesting materials into the box, place a layer 2-3" of wood
shavings or coarse sawdust on the bottom. Do not use cedar shavings or sawdust
because it is harmful to the young.
Place the box on a pole, building, or lone tree in an open field or meadow or along a
fence row 10-20' from the ground.
Place the box so that the hole is facing away from prevailing winds and is free of twigs
and branches for an uninhibited exit by the kestrel.
If possible, place the box where it is most inaccessible to kestrel predators (cats,
raccoons, etc.) or place a 30" high metal sleeve around the tree or pole.
Monitor in the spring to keep Starlings and House Sparrows out of the box. Since
kestrels and Screech Owls use no nesting materials, remove any nesting materials found.
Screech Owls are welcomed tenants!! They have pure white eggs.