American Kestrel Partnership Quarterly: Summer 2016
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American Kestrel Partnership Quarterly: Summer 2016

Thank you for your commitment to the American Kestrel Partnership and a big thanks to those of you that monitor nest boxes and share data with us! This partnership enables all of us to be part of something bigger as we collectively work to understand the decline of a most beautiful falcon. We have enjoyed interacting with you on our discussion boards, phone, email, social media, and in person!

Don’t forget to upload your data for the season onto our website under the ‘Research’ tab! Get your data to us before the first of September so we can include it in our 2016 American Kestrel Partnership analysis. We’ve been busy over the past few months so read on to see what we’ve been up to!

Bob, our education American Kestrel, resides at The Peregrine Fund's World Center for Birds of Prey (by Sarah Schulwitz, 2016).

Show your support: Upcoming FUNdraiser!

2016 T-shirt Fundraiser: Mark your calendar! From July 11 to 21, you will have the opportunity to purchase T’s that show your love for kestrels! Choose from Classic T-shirt (pictured), V-neck, or Juniors styles all by American Apparel for only $22. Incredible artwork for this limited edition design was donated by Scott Partridge and re-purposed specifically for the American Kestrel Partnership! Look for our T-shirt campaign by visiting us on FacebookTwitter, or our webpage starting July 11.

Mock-up of 2016 limited design American Kestrel Partnership T-shirt (by Scott Partridge, 2016).

New Resources for Partners

Team Management Tools: Many partners function as teams that collectively monitor several boxes. In an effort to facilitate group management, we introduced the capacity for a partner to create a group. Team Leaders can create a group, add group members, and assign them boxes for which they’ll monitor and submit data. All group members enjoy a private discussion board visible only to your group and website administrators. This feature creates a space for your team to discuss issues related to your program and helps Team Leaders keep track of the group’s progress! Check out the guide here!

Share Large Datasets: Many partners or would-be partners have LOTS of data to share because they monitor many boxes or have been operating for several years! We want to facilitate the process of getting that data to us. Our future goal is to create the ability for partners to efficiently upload lots of data directly into our website. Until we can implement such a feature (which requires time and money, hence the FUNdraiser!), we are accepting large datasets via email according to a data template. Please email us at if you have more American Kestrel nesting data than you can enter into our website. We'll send you our data-entry template and work with you to get it into a usable format for our purposes. We'll encourage suggestions and feedback from partners on making this template as user friendly as possible!

PowerPoint Presentation: We want you to share with your community and friends what you’ve been up to as a vital part of the American Kestrel Partnership. As a token of our appreciation for your commitment, we created a PowerPoint Presentation for use by any registered partner. Check it out here and please send feedback!

Recruitment Flyer for Partners to Distribute: Lots of folks have asked for flyers or handouts to distribute when you tell others about the American Kestrel Partnership. We created just this to help you recruit volunteers to your program or to inspire others to initiate a new kestrel monitoring trail! Find it here!

Upcoming Website Developments: We will be adding a new feature that will request partners to provide us with their first and last name upon log-in. This will enable us to more effectively search our partner database (rather than rely on username or email alone). This information will only be used by our administrators and will not be shared. Please look out for this change to be implemented by early August. Then, you’ll be able to log on and provide this information to help us do our job more efficiently! Additionally, to streamline the website and create spaces for new content, we will be restructuring parts of the website. So, be on the lookout for a notification in this regard.

Partner Spotlight

Partners are the foundation of the American Kestrel Partnership, so we’d like to introduce partners to each other through Partner Spotlights! We encourage you to start a conversation with other partners on our discussion board!

Don McCartney and a Dozen Volunteers: Bend, OR: Don’s foray into the kestrel monitoring world, began with his monitoring of just one kestrel nest box. The next year he monitored five and the year after, 20 boxes. This year marks his seventeenth working season and he is now monitoring upwards of 103 American Kestrel nest boxes! Of course, he doesn’t do this all by himself! Don took on his first volunteer, Diane Kook, 15 years ago. Today, he and his team of a dozen extremely dedicated volunteers monitor boxes that extend into three Oregon counties. In all that time, not one volunteer has quit! They must be having fun! As a testimony of the team’s dedication, the team banders, Jim Anderson and Ken Hashagen, go the distance to make sure their birds get banded. “They’ll drive 30 miles for a box even if there is only 1 chick to band...they never want to let a single bird go unbanded,” Don describes. And the team’s impact for American Kestrels? Last year, they set a record with 236 chicks fledged. Don’s conservative estimate of the TOTAL number of American Kestrels his boxes has fledged: 2800! Don’s passion for kestrels is great, but his enthusiasm toward the team he leads is truly extraordinary. “I feel really fortunate, I am blessed with a great group of people!,” he said. Great work Don and team: the American Kestrel Partnership appreciates all your team does for kestrel science and conservation!

Satch Esperancilla on left and Ken Hashagen on right (by Don Roberts, 2016). Chicks handled under supervision of licensed bander. 
Marjie Tipton monitors a nest box (by Dick Tipton, 2016).

University of North Texas (UNT) Ecology Program: Headed up by Dr. Jaime Baxter-Slye, UNT’s Department of Biological Science Ecology BS Program is among our newest partners! Drs. Baxter-Slye, Bruce Hunter, and Jeff Johnson built American Kestrel nest boxes to be installed in several locations around the college campus and surrounding town of Denton, TX. Several enthusiastic ecology students are volunteering their own time to assist in program start-up! These students have already begun building boxes and plan to install and monitor the boxes for the Spring 2017 pilot breeding season. The UNT Ecology American Kestrel Project will be fully incorporated into the sophomore-level Ecology curriculum by the 2017-2018 academic year! Students will learn methods of high-quality data collection through hands-on lessons such as monitoring nest boxes, banding birds, and collecting samples for genetic and ecotoxicology analysis. “I think the students will learn more if they know their data is being reported to and used by foundations like the The Peregrine Fund’s American Kestrel Partnership. Plus, building partnerships will help our students understand what kinds of opportunities are available with their degree,” says Dr. Baxter-Slye. Welcome aboard UNT Ecology: we cannot wait to learn of your achievements. We are honored that you are incorporating the American Kestrel Partnership into your undergraduate curriculum!

University of North Texas (UNT) undergraduate students Morgan Van Aken, Daniel Witt, and Elida Silva take a break from making American Kestrel nest boxes. UNT’s new undergraduate Ecology program is partnering with the American Kestrel Partnership to teach students about field-based biological and ecological data collection. Find out more here.

*Help US get to know YOU better. Please start a conversation and send us YOUR mini-profile!* 
Send an email to In the email, please include:

  • your name, 
  • organization you monitor kestrels with (i.e., do you monitor with a local Audubon chapter,  a state fish & wildlife department etc.?), 
  • city, state/province, and country, 
  • number of boxes monitored annually (if any), 
  • partner since, 
  • a sentence or two about your unique relationship with American Kestrels,
  • a representative photograph,
  • and whether or not we may include your mini-profile on our website for other partners to get to know you better too! 

We can't wait to get to know you better!

Research:  Presentations & Projects

Presentations: In effort to meet with current partners, recruit new partners, and share our work with the general public and professional scientists, our small staff makes time to give presentations. Check out who we’ve visited and where we are going next!

We visited a Highlands Elementary school 6th grade class. These students learn about and monitor kestrel boxes for their year-long service learning project (by Shane Jenne, 2016).

Participating in professional conferences ensures that we stay up-to-date with the latest science, but it can be expensive at $500-$1000/presenter depending on the location. Donate here if you’d like to help us offset the costs (indicate: ‘Conference Fund’ in notes section).

Projects: In collaboration with Boise State University, University of California Los Angeles, and HawkWatch International, we have launched the American Kestrel Genoscape Project. The objective of the project is to analyze genetic data from across the kestrel range to understand the migratory connectivity of populations of American Kestrels. This research is possible because of participation of YOU, our partners. If you would like to contribute to the Genoscape project by collecting feathers (appropriate permits are necessary), please email for details.

Thanks for your continued partnership and your commitment to American Kestrel conservation science. We look forward to hearing from you!

With warm wishes,
Chris McClure, PhD, Director
Sarah Schulwitz, PhD, Assistant Director
Delora Hilleary, Coordinator

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