Long-term Nest Monitoring
About the Program
Each spring, HWI community science volunteers and our staff monitor a large network of nest boxes placed in diverse landscapes, including wildland, agricultural, urban, and heavily developed areas. Throughout the season, we collect data such as what species are nesting in our boxes, how many eggs they lay, the success rate of fledging, and morphological measurements. Thanks to our many volunteers, we are able to collect large amounts of data that provide a glimpse into the reproduction and survival of cavity-nesting raptors.
Raptors Color Banded
Future of the Program
This program began as our American Kestrel Studies, but very quickly, we found many other species of raptors nesting in our boxes. As a result, we expanded the program to include the many owl species taking residence. This program has led us down the path of monitoring other potential stressors, such as rodenticide levels in raptors’ blood and the impact different habitats may have on their survival. Our network of boxes continues to grow, on average adding about 100 more boxes each year.
Looking for More Information?
Here’s How You Can Help
Report Banded American Kestrels: If you’ve seen a color-banded American Kestrel in our study area, report the sighting here.
Adopt-a-Box: You can cover the cost of a nest box in our study area, providing habitat for nesting raptors. You can sponsor a box here.
Build Your Own Box: You can make your backyard more inviting to cavity-adopting raptors by building your own box. Click here for our nest box plans.
Volunteer: If you live in Salt Lake City, Tuscon, or the Moscow/Pullman area, you can join our team of community scientists. Click here to learn more.
Read More in Our Publications, Reports, and Comments
Anjolene R. Hunt, Jesse L. Watson, Jason M. Winiarski, Ron R. Porter, Julie A. Heath. American Kestrel Migration: Insights and Challenges from Tracking Individuals across the Annual Cycle. Journal of Raptor Research. Read More.
Dave Oleyar, Laurie J. Goodrich, Danielle Ethier, David Brandes, Rebekah Smith, Julie Brown, and Jason Sodergren. 2023. Thirty Years of Migration and Winter Count Data Indicate Regional Differences In Population Trajectories For American Kestrels In North America. Journal of Raptor Research. Read More.
Jesse L. Watson and Dave Oleyar. 2023. Documenting Occurrence and Rates of Spraddle-Leg in American Kestrel Nestlings within a Nest Box Monitoring Network. Journal of Raptor Research. Read More.
Support the People Behind Conservation
Every season we provide employment for early-career biologists through our internship program. Help us create a more equitable future for the field of conservation