April 1, 2013
Today I checked 9 boxes. For the purpose of this blog, "checking" a box or "visiting"a box could mean anything from viewing the box at a distance through binoculars for 3-5 minutes to actually lowering the box to inspect the inside for eggs, young, or to set a starling trap. One female seen on a box in Mansfield and one starling trap set in Mansfield. I also removed a box that has been located at a local vineyard for the last four years. This box was a classic example of mistaking migrant kestrels that routinely appear at certain locations and then move on for birds that appear to be interested in stopping locally and breeding. Coastal locations in CT are other good examples of this. Out of the four years the box was up at the vineyard, there was one year where there was breeding, but over 30 starlings were removed from the box over the years with no other evidence of kestrel breeding - despite the presence of male and female kestrels every spring during the late March-mid April period. With statistics like that, I have finally learned that it is better to just pull the plug, no matter how great the potential appears to be.
I also erected a new box at a local Christmas tree farm that has limited habitat that is completely surrounded by woodlands, but it is a tree farm and kestrels love tree farms. This time next year, it may join the ranks of over 100 other boxes that have been removed after their honeymoon period is over. 623 miles traveled this season so far.