Instructables

American Kestrel nest box

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The American Kestrel is North America's smallest falcon, and unlike its larger cousins, this beautiful little bird chooses to nest in cavities (i.e., holes in trees or other objects, such as utility poles and buildings). They will also accept artificial nest boxes placed in suitable habitat, which is open areas such as pastures and hay fields. This Instructable will hopefully help you construct your own safe and secure nest box that will also be easy to clean and maintain. The design is based on plans refined by Dr. John Smallwood and Richard Melvin for use in the difficult environment of Florida, and should be suitable for use everywhere.

This box is also suitable as is for screech owls, and could be scaled appropriately for a variety of other species (wood duck, bluebird, swallows, etc.).
 
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Step 1: Box Plans

Picture of Box Plans
KestrelBoxPlanSide.jpg
KestrelBoxPlanFront.jpg
KestrelBoxPlanBottom.jpg
KestrelBoxPlanDoor.jpg
Here are the dimensions of the cuts that you will need to make - feel free to reorder them in order to accommodate the quality of your lumber. You'd be wise to make sure important parts, such as the back, front, and top, are cut from board sections lacking cracks or knots.

This Instructable follows the order of steps that I used to construct my boxes, but you are free to mix things up in any way you choose. What seems like a logical and efficient workflow to me might not suit you well, and there are many ways to end up with a functioning nest box.

Step 2: Recommended Facilities

To start, it would be best to have access to a facility with a variety of wood-working tools, like serious saws, a drill press, and plenty of workspace. I was lucky enough to be able to use facilities at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It's certainly possible to make boxes with handheld equipment, so improvise if you need to.
diy_bloke3 years ago
Well done and a great instructable. I was initially wondering if the size wasn't fairly big but then I realized what a 'Kestrel' was in my langiage ;-)

I gotto make one like this
GEEK15 years ago
I love kestrels!!!
altomic5 years ago
crap, I live in Australia and we only have Australian kestrels here. guess I'll have to wait for an instructable about building an Australian kestrel birdhouse.
Fixerdad5 years ago
Like it! I often see these birds when I'm up working on rooftops and such. I was fixing a water tank (sprinkler system type) about 100' up one day and one of them "hovered" about 10' away for a short while, prob wondering what was I doing up there....they seem to thrive here in the city.
Kiteman5 years ago
Nice.
Great work! I may make one for screech owls, there are a fair number in my area. Thanks very much!
bibi_mwewe (author)  I_am_Canadian5 years ago
Please do! For screech owls, try putting the box up wherever you might see or hear them - they don't mind going into thicker cover than a kestrel would stand, so a box put into a stand of trees might well be used. Kestrels will just pass that sort of situation by if they have to maneuver too much to access the box opening. Good luck!
canida5 years ago
Nice!

Kestrels are awesome, by the way - they just hover there, facing into the wind, staying stationary relative to the ground to watch for prey. Then they dive.