BLUEBIRDS & kESTRELS
CROOKED RIVER NATIONAL GRASSLAND NEST BOX TRAIL
In a cooperative agreement with United States Forest Service (USFS), Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area installed three American kestrel (Falco sparverius) and six mountain bluebird (Sialia currucoides) nest boxes on Crooked River National Grassland near Crooked River Ranch in early 2018. All but one of these nest boxes are located on "The Peninsula."
In the past four years, American kestrels, mountain bluebirds, and ash-throated flycatchers have successfully nested in these boxes. We offer guided hikes on the nest box trail in May and June. Participants can help open boxes and record findings.
If you would like join Diane Randgaard on one of her monitoring visits, please sign up for her guided hike.
CROOKED RIVER RANCH KESTREL NESTBOX TRAIL
Working with Friends and Neighbors of the Deschutes Canyon Area (FANs), Karen and Mick Atwood monitor 10 American kestrel nest boxes scattered throughout Crooked River Ranch. FANs is a part of a collaborative group, including East Cascades Audubon Society (ECAS) and the American Kestrel Partnership, working to understand the demographics of kestrels as their numbers are declining.
Starting in December/January, our monitors visit each of the boxes, clean out old nests and fill the boxes with clean cedar chips. In mid-May, they again visit our boxes to check for signs of nesting. There are occasionally other native birds using the boxes, usually mountain bluebirds, occasionally northern flickers. However, if an invasive European starlings selects a nestbox before the kestrels arrive, the kestrels will move on to another box.
Usually we have 3 to 6 boxes active kestrel nests. Once we have a box with kestrel eggs, the monitors will follow up about every 2 to 3 weeks, to check the status for eggs and nestlings. Once they nestlings are between 14 and 21 days old, Ken Hashagen, a bird bander with ECAS, visits the box with us to take measurements, determine gender and band the chicks.