Tag Archives: kestrel

Stress From Human Activity Causes Birds to Abandon Nests

13 May

by Robert Johns, Cross Posted from American Bird Conservancy

BirdsAbandonNests

Washington, D.C. – A new study from scientists at Boise State University shows that even bird species considered “tolerant” of human activity, such as American Kestrels, may be adversely impacted by human disturbance to a far greater degree than many had believed.

The study, authored by Erin H. Strasser and Julie A. Heath of Boise State University, was just published in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology.

A key finding of the study was that American Kestrels nesting in close proximity to roads and developed areas had elevated stress hormones and high rates of nest abandonment – about ten times higher than kestrels in less-developed areas. American Kestrels are small, colorful falcons often seen perched along roadways and are abundant in urban and agricultural areas.

“In the case of the kestrel, the bird is possibly drawn into the urban environment by the abundant nesting and perching opportunities that environment provides and by the improved prey visibility provided by shorter grass. Unfortunately, this dynamic creates an ecological trap as ultimately the stresses caused by human activity lead the bird to abandon nests far more frequently,” said Heath.

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