Episode 020: Eating Stray Cats... Just Kidding... Mostly...

In this episode, we build and install a nesting box for the American Kestrel, the smallest falcon in the world. It’s also the smallest "true” raptor in the world. We talk about some other raptor species, owls, their benefit to an ecosystem, and how nesting boxes can help them out. Additionally, we get into some general concepts on building nesting boxes for any species of bird. Nest boxes aren’t a magic bullet that will allow a bird to thrive in any environment. Every species of bird has its own unique habitat requirements (appropriate nest sites are a critical part of this), which we can work to improve with pretty minimal effort. Along those same lines, we’ll discuss the proper way to go about habitat improvement, some mistakes to avoid, and how proper habitat improvement benefits numerous species, not just the “target” species. When it comes to the kestrel, this couldn’t be more true as we provide habitat for the kestrel’s prey, as well as other birds, and even larger mammals.

Also- why you should identify and eat invasive species! Don’t worry, I’ll give you some pointers to get you started.

Here are some useful links and resources that came up in the episode.

Kestrel nest box plans

Barn owl nest box plans

University of Nebraska paper on feral cats

Northern Plains Conservation Network

To register your own kestrel nest box and learn a whole lot more about kestrel conservation, visit the American Kestrel Partnership website.

The bird identification app that we talked about is called Merlin Bird ID, and is associated with the Cornell Lab or Ornithology.