Starting in 2019, OWNS is initiating a new project that aims to establish nesting boxes to attract American Kestrels on vineyards and orchards in the Okanagan as a form of natural pest deterrent.
In collaboration with a mulit-province/territory program and in association with Warne in the Wild, this project will act as a research study that hopes to provide an ecological solution to a serious problem for fruit growers in the Okanagan. For its first year the project will run as a citizen science program where each landowner will monitor and maintain the nest boxes and submit information back to OWNS.
The American Kestrel is the smallest North American falcon species and preys on rodents, small birds and insects and inhabits open areas such as farmland and meadows. To learn more about these birds, click here.
- Increase the declining number of American Kestrels in the region by providing suitable nesting sites in the Okanagan.
- Provide a beneficial ecosystem service to Orchard/Vineyard owners once a nest box has been successfully occupied.
- Band nestling Kestrels and continue to monitor occupancy and program success from year to year and collect feather samples for the genoscape research project.
This spring, we are looking for approximately 20 participants who are willing to have a nest box installed on their property near a vineyard or orchard. If you are a landowner in the Okanagan with a vineyard or orchard and wish to participate, please check out the LANDOWNERS section for more information to see if your property would be a good fit for one of our boxes. A donation of $100/box is requested to cover the delivery and installation of the nest box. Weekly monitoring of the box and associated collection of basic data is required.
If you are not a landowner but are interested in monitoring one a nest box on someone else’s property, check the CITIZEN SCIENTISTS section. Because monitoring installed boxes provides valuable data on the success of the project, is an important component of the project. We are looking for volunteers to take on this role in case our landowners are unable to do so themselves.