Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Fifth-graders go to the birds

Sun Valley students build nesting boxes for kestrels


Community School fifth-graders display a kestrel nesting box they built and placed on a utility pole near the school.
Courtesy photo

The fifth-grade class at the Community School in Sun Valley has built about a dozen nesting boxes that they are placing around the school in an effort to assist the American kestrel, a predatory bird species whose population is on the decline.
    The American kestrel, a member of the falcon genus, is also known as the sparrow hawk. According to a news release, representatives of The Peregrine Fund, a Boise-based organization dedicated to birds of prey conservation, the species has been one of the most abundant raptors in North America but is now struggling to overcome habitat loss and increased competition from non-native species such as the European starling.
    The students in teacher Bev McNeal’s class were moved to help the kestrels after a Peregrine Fund presentation at the Community School last month. The fifth-graders then began to build wooden nesting boxes about 18 inches high and have been searching for places to put them.
    “The goal is to help mitigate the effects of habitat loss on the kestrel population,” McNeal stated. “The boxes must be elevated on trees, fence posts or telephone poles and located facing an open field.”
    People who see the boxes are asked not to disturb them. For more information, or to offer a spot for a nesting box, contact McNeal at (208) 622-3960, ext. 151.

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