AKP Quarterly: Fall 2017
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American Kestrel Partnership Quarterly: Fall 2017

New Research
Uncovering the mystery of American Kestrel decline

From a new study published in the December 2017 issue of Journal of Raptor Research authors Christopher J.W. McClure, Sarah E. Schulwitz, Richard Van Buskirk, Benjamin P. Pauli, and Julie A. Heath outline a path forward to help scientists understanding why kestrels are declining.
American Kestrels are North America’s smallest and most colorful falcon, but biologists and birders across the continent are worried about their future. This charismatic, backyard bird’s populations have been steadily declining over the past 40 years by 50% across their range. The reason for this decline is unknown though many reasons have been proposed.
Researchers from The Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Partnership, Boise State University, and Pacific University are cautioning that there is little observed evidence for many of the proposed threats. Dr. Chris McClure, Director of Global Science at The Peregrine Fund urges that, “Researchers should focus efforts on monitoring and identifying the drivers of survival and reproductive rates using population modeling tools. By studying the migration routes and natural nesting sites of American Kestrels we will be better able to understand why they’re declining at such a steady rate.”
The authors state that looking at the entire yearly life cycle of kestrels will help to understand how we can implement conservation efforts to stop the decline and prevent the American Kestrel from becoming a threatened species. McClure adds, “It may be a complicated puzzle to solve, but we want to keep this common species common.”
PDF of Full Article Available in Next Few Days on AKP Homepage
Research Recommendations for Understanding the Decline of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) across much of North America will also be available at later this month. 
About the journal: The Journal of Raptor Research is a peer-reviewed, international journal dedicated to the dissemination of information about birds of prey, and is the official publication of the Raptor Research Foundation.

Full Cycle Phenology Update

From the blog of the Full Cycle Phenology Project: The 2017 American Kestrel breeding season is well behind us, and the numbers are in! This breeding season, we received feather samples from 610 American Kestrels from across the breeding range!

Collaborators from 25 states sent us feathers from kestrels in their nest boxes, trapping sites, and rehabilitation facilities.

With the samples sent off to the genetics lab at University of California, Los Angeles for analyses, we are making great strides towards understanding the genetic structure of breeding kestrel populations.

This map shows locations where we have received feathers from American Kestrels in the breeding season (orange), migration season (yellow) and winter season (blue) from 2017 and prior years. (Not pictured: Alaska). We welcome samples from all locations, but if you work with kestrels in an areas without dots, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please SIGN UP to contribute feathers, or see our GET INVOLVED page to find out more. 

Full annual cycle research does not slow down with the cooling temperatures, and with winter upon us, the next phase of the Full Cycle Phenology project is shaping up. By sampling kestrels during migration and overwintering, we hope to be able to map individuals back to their breeding population of origin and to assess migratory connectivity and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

If you work with wintering kestrels please consider contributing feather samples. If you aren’t on our list yet, please SIGN UP to get your sampling kit mailed to you. If you are already signed up, but need more sampling envelopes, please Contact Us.

Partner Spotlight: Former First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush

The Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership (AKP) is honored to have gained a new citizen science partner who values science-based conservation just as much as we do. Former First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush is the AKP's newest partner dedicated to monitoring and reporting data on kestrel nest boxes now located on her Texas-based ranch (see photo). Mrs. Bush's conservation efforts extend to protect many facets of native flora and fauna in Texas. The organization she founded, Texan By Nature, partners with more than 50 wildlife management and conservation organizations to take care of the land, water, and wildlife across Texas. We are so happy that she'll now have a hand in the conservation science of American Kestrels in Texas!

Kestrel Holiday Menu

If you are inspired by the work of the American Kestrel Partnership (of if you want a cool kestrel shirt), then we ask for your help this holiday giving season!

We've got several gift options perfect for the bird-loving, outdoor enthusiasts in your life that will also go a long way toward helping us continue our work in the New Year! Each purchase, donation, adoption, or sponsorship will help The Peregrine Fund's American Kestrel Partnership get closer to understanding why kestrels continue to decline so we can better protect our favorite backyard falcon. Please join us this holiday season with a gift or donation and spread the love for kestrels! 

Our goal is to raise $10,000 by December 31. THANK YOU to everyone who has already gotten us to $5,110 in just a few days! Take a look our 2017 Kestrel Holiday Menu below to see if there is a best option for you to help us reach the goal! For shirts to be delivered by Christmas, order this weekend!
2016 Shirts: $22 & $27 - 3 DAYS LEFT for Christmas Delivery!*
2017 Shirts: $22 & $28 - 5 DAYS LEFT for Christmas Delivery!*
Adopt-A-Box: $100*
Sponsor the 2018 KestrelCam: $1000
Donate: Any Amount
*Order 2016 Shirts before Dec. 4 for delivery by Christmas
Order 2017 Shirts before Dec 6 for delivery by Christmas
Adopt-A-Box by Dec. 14 for Christmas delivery of initial mailing of Adoption Certificate and 2018 Calendar

Internship Opportunities

GLOBAL RAPTOR INFORMATION NETWORK (GRIN) INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: The American Kestrel Partnership is offering two internships-for-credit for the Spring 2018 semester to College of Western Idaho and Boise State University students. This program will provide an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-world experience working within a science-driven conservation organization that values public engagement. Students will work closely with professional researchers with the American Kestrel Partnership at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey as we implement the Global Raptor Impact Network (GRIN) and revolutionize how raptor science is conducted and disseminated around the world. 
Learn More and Apply Here for GRIN Internships
DELAWARE STATE PARK INTERNSHIP PROGRAM: Are you looking for a way to get involved with kestrel research next year and develop some field work skills in Delaware? American Kestrel Partnership partner Brandywine Zoo with the Delaware Kestrel Partnership is taking applications for its 2018, year-long Conservation Programs Research Apprentice Intern​. This research apprenticeship will primarily work on the Zoo's American Kestrel nest box monitoring project as well as its new Urban Wildlife Monitoring Project. This position is for 12 months based in Delaware, comes with a $100/week stipend, and also offers free housing in Delaware State Parks housing. Applications will only be accepted the next couple of weeks, so apply soon!
Learn More and Apply Here for Delaware State Park Internship
Email if you'd like to advertise for positions working with American Kestrels

Do you monitor your kestrel box?

On the survey we sent out in May, many of you told us that you had a kestrel box but didn't know how to monitor it and send us the data. We've included information in the links below to get you started. Our research tells us that the best way to help kestrel populations is for us to understand what is causing their steady declines - and to do to that we need to keep monitoring and entering data, even when kestrels don't use the box!
Register as a Partner: Log-in To Access to the Data Entry Portal
How to Monitor Your Box, Collect, and Send Data

Do you have box monitoring data from before AKP began in 2012?

We want to make long-term datasets collected from across North America useful to the conservation science community in perpetuity. If you have data on breeding kestrels that are not in the AKP database, we want to work with you! If you send us your data, we will have interns work with you to re-format it to be compatible with the AKP database. Once uniformly formatted, long-term data can be analyzed to determine to trends across a continental scale. Please email to start the conversation about getting your long-term data into the AKP database. 
Many thanks for your partnership!  

With best wishes,
Sarah Schulwitz
Director of the American Kestrel Partnership
Copyright © 2017 The Peregrine Fund, All rights reserved.

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