American Kestrels


American Kestrel male, Photo by Alan Lenk

The American Kestrel is the smallest and most colorful of the North American falcons. This diminutive falcon eats primarily insects, small reptiles, small mammals and the occasional songbird. Kestrels range throughout North America, can be year-round residents in North Carolina and might be found in most any habitat during winter that provides enough food.  The American Kestrel mates during early spring in the southern Appalachians and nests inside natural or man-made cavities. Kestrel nesting habitat includes open fields with long views and plentiful perches such as dead tree snags or overhead power lines. Early to mid-succession fields that provide cover and                                                                              plentiful food access are also preferred close to nesting sites.

American Kestrel populations are in steep decline across the US and a species of concern in North Carolina. You can help promote American Kestrels by becoming a “Carolina Kestrel Partner”.

Carolina Kestrel Partners

Southern Appalachian Raptor Research has initiated this project with local landowners to support kestrel nesting  by increasing available nest cavities in Madison, Yancey, Mitchell and Buncombe Counties.You can assist American Kestrels by placing a nest box on your land.  There is no cost to the host partner. The box, mounting equipment and nest monitoring will be provided by Southern Appalachian Raptor Research volunteers in partnership with landowners.

For more information on how to become a Carolina Kestrel Partner email us at


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