Declines in American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) populations are widely reported, and Breeding Bird Survey (BBS) data suggest that the North American population declined significantly from 1984 to 2007. Potential causes include the spread of West Nile virus (WNV), increases in populations of Cooper's Hawks (Accipiter cooperii), and loss of suitable habitat. We examined trends in the numbers of both migratory and resident kestrel populations that use nest boxes in eight study areas in Florida, Georgia, Virginia and Maryland, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Saskatchewan, and the Yukon Territory, 1984–2007. All eight populations underwent significant declines; the mean annual decline in nest-box occupancy rate was 3.0% and ranged from 0.6% in Pennsylvania to 4.7% in New Jersey. Except for the most recent nest-box program, established in 1995 and declining since 2002, all nest-box populations began to experience declines before WNV arrived in North America in 1999. To test whether changes in kestrel population densities generally are associated with the opposite trend in Cooper's Hawks, we examined the 42 BBS physiographic regions for which trends for both species were available. No significant correlations were detected for the period 1966–2007, or for 1980–2007, more closely concurrent with our nest-box data. Christmas Bird Count data from 1959 through 1988 also failed to demonstrate a significant correlation. Finally, the habitat within our study areas still appears suitable, and the remaining kestrels appear healthy and have high reproductive success. Thus, the principal cause of the decline probably lies elsewhere, perhaps on the wintering grounds or along migration routes. Further, for both migratory and resident populations, the decline in nest-box occupancy may reflect regional declines, which would reduce the number of individuals available for replacing breeding birds that have died or dispersed.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.