Earth Day Project: Kestrel boxes near the Blue Mountain Ridge

April 23, 2018

By Daniel Barringer, Preserve Manager.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

For Earth Day this year I volunteered somewhere else, putting up kestrel boxes similar to the ones we put up last year at our Green Hills Preserve. (Our preserves have benefitted greatly from volunteers so it feels good to give a little back.) I joined Force of Nature volunteer Jim Moffett and other volunteers to put two new posts in at Rentschler Arboretum, a lovely tree sanctuary and home of the Blue Mountain Eagle Climbing Club with a view north to the Blue Mountain Ridge (atop which the Appalachian Trail meanders).

We were warned that the soils might be a bit shaly, and one of the holes was, very. Above Fred Roxberry and Mike Slater chop away at the slate in the hole. Below, Jim Moffett attaches the kestrel box to the pole with a hinge so that the box stays vertical as when it will be lowered for maintenance. Jan Slater is holding the box as Mike and Fred are holding the pole. Mike and Jan have helped with wildflower plantings and events at Green Hills Preserve. The kestrel boxes were made by Art Zdancewic, who also has made some boxes for Green Hills and including the barn owl boxes there at at Crow’s Nest Preserve.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

Here’s a view of the finished box, with the second one barely visible on the green trail in the valley. They’re mounted about 19 feet above the ground. The far ridge is Blue Mountain.

Photo: Daniel Barringer

If you’ve heard me speak about bird boxes before you know I like the intentionality that they convey to visitors. They show that a place is cared for, even if nature at that place might otherwise be “messy” (that is, natural!). I also like that this installation helps frame the view, adding to the perspective of near and far. And they are likely to attract kestrels and that is very exciting!