VSO Conservation Committee's Kestrel Project Update

The box building/erecting phase of the Kestrel Project is nearing an end.  Our goal of 400 boxes has been reached.  Our total as of now stands at 455 boxes in 44 counties.  There is enough wood left from the original white cedar purchase for another 25 or so.

Photo courtesy Doug Rogers.

We do not plan any more truckload long distance trips, but might still put up some boxes here and there when feasible.  We’ve been fortunate to enlist some eager and capable helpers in northern VA, and will be supplying them with more boxes.  

Our highest concentration of boxes is in Highland County, the Shenandoah Valley, and Piedmont counties just east of the Blue Ridge.  It’s been interesting to note the encroachment of development into traditional farming areas and the proliferation of vineyards all over the state, both bad news for kestrels.  However, much good habitat remains.  One very rewarding aspect of the project has been the interest and enthusiasm shown by rural folks, many of whom were unaware of what a kestrel is.  We were hardly ever turned down for a box placement when knocking on doors.  It’s been great to be able to promote the VSO and habitat preservation.

Photo courtesy Doug Rogers.

We always ask hosts to report back to us any activity with their box, and not surprisingly, few do. But some folks do, and we hope more will.  Some have reported starlings initially occupying their box, only to have kestrels the following year.

On Feb. 15th we celebrated placement of the 450th kestrel box at an organic vineyard (one of few in the Eastern US) in Albemarle County - see photos below..

Summary (as of late Feb., 2018):  455 boxes, in 44 counties.  317 erected by us, 138 given to others.

The Kestrel “team” (l to r): Mary Ames, Doug Rogers, Dan Bieker, Patti Reum, David White; Photo courtesy Doug Rogers.

List of counties (bold type = 10 or more boxes): Augusta, Albemarle, Highland, Amelia, Powhatan, Nottoway, Prince Edward, Frederick, Pittsylvania, Northampton, Accomack, Williamsburg, Rockbridge, Fluvanna, Louisa, Orange, Patrick, Nelson, Fauquier, Warren, Buckingham, Madison, Greene, King George, Spotsylvania, Fairfax, Lancaster, James City, Surry, Gloucester, Appomattox, Wythe, Pulaski, Rockingham, Middlesex, Franklin, Lunenburg, Bath, Culpeper, Clarke, Loudoun, Rappahannock, Page, Tazewell 

State Parks: Powhatan, High Bridge, Sailor’s Creek, Sky Meadows, James River, Shenandoah River, Caledon, Lake Anna, Mason Neck, Belle Isle, Kiptopeke, York River, Chippokes, Middle Peninsula, New River.