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It’s for the Birds: Restoring the Raptor Population

RapConsWCS390They may not be on the payroll of the typical wildlife control company, but raptors work hard to keep the population of rodents and other nuisance animals in check. Unfortunately, many species of birds of prey have decreased in numbers due to habitat loss and inadequate nesting spaces. To help stem this decline, Wildlife Control Specialist, LLC, a small, family-run business, has donated their time, expertise and materials to set up new homes for their feathered friends and partners in wildlife management.

Spearheaded by father-and-son team Joe and Matt Kosakowski, the raptor conservation project involved the installation of 11 nest boxes for Barn Owls, Screech Owls and American Kestrels in open spaces throughout Tewksbury. Because these types of birds do not build their own nests, they must rely instead on other animals – or, in this case, humans – to leave behind or create suitable places to live and breed.

The erection of nest boxes is intended not only to increase the number of available breeding sites for birds already nearby, but, ideally, to attract new birds to the area.

RapBoxWCS250Although nest boxes can be handcrafted from wood or other materials, the boxes for this project were purchased from the Barn Owl Box Company, which Joe Kosakowski recommends to homeowners looking for a convenient way to entice raptors to their property.

The Kosakowski’s set up five white nest boxes, mounted on metal poles as potential breeding sites for Kestrels.

A type of falcon, the American Kestrel prefers to reside and hunt near open land and meadows, rather than wooded areas. These raptors – formerly known as sparrow hawks - typically stay in New Jersey throughout the year, although some of them are migratory. Kestrels breed most frequently in the spring, and return annually to their nests.

Usually ranging in size from about 7-11 inches, these birds hunt during the day for small animals such as mice, moles, voles, grasshoppers and other birds. They are the smallest of all North American falcons, but often exhibit a fast and aggressive hunting style, where they hover over an open field with their wings beating rapidly, ready to pounce.

The population of the American kestrel has sharply declined in New Jersey in recent years, and as of 2012, was listed as a State Threatened Species.

Wildlife Control Specialist, LLC also set up five grey nest boxes – mounted on trees - to attract Screech Owls.