Menunkatuck maintains nest boxes for several other species, two of which are state listed.
The American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) is North America’s smallest falcon. About the size of a Blue Jay, it hunts for grasshoppers, dragonflies, mice, voles, and other small prey. It needs open fields with trees on which to perch while looking for prey. Its preferred nest site is a cavity 15 feet or so above the ground in a tree or nest box in an open area.
Because of the lack of suitable nest sites American Kestrels are listed in Connecticut as Threatened. After surveying the local area for open grasslands with an area of 20 acres or more, we worked with local landowners to install eight kestrel boxes.
Do you know of an area that might be good American Kestrel habitat? Tell us about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Barn Owl (Tyto alba) is the most widespread of owls, occurring on every continent except Antarctica. While it was never abundant in Connecticut, the decrease in the number of farms in the state and the resulting decrease in foraging area, Barn Owls are now listed as Endangered. In order to help increase the number of Barn Owls in the area, Menunkatuck has a Barn Owl nest box project. Barn Owls require open fields, meadows, and marshland over which they can glide and listen for prey. To support a growing family an area of 10-20 acres is needed. With the support of the Regional Water Authority and several local landowners we’ve installed 15 Barn Owl boxes.
Our goal is that with suitable nest sites in a large area we can increase the Barn Owl population in southern Connecticut. With the population of Barn Owls as low as it is, it is likely that it will be several years at best before we have any nesting Barn Owls. However, without the boxes, we will almost certainly have none. If you think you have suitable habitat for Barn Owls and would like a nest box, email email@example.com and we will contact you for a consultation.
The Eastern Bluebird (Sialia sialis) as well as Mountain and Western Bluebirds, have had population declines due to the lack of cavities in which to nest and the competition from non-native and highly aggressive European Starlings and House Sparrows. In the late 1970s the North American Bluebird Society pioneered nest box trails as way to help the recovery of bluebirds and other cavity nesting birds.
Tree Swallows boxes can be placed 100 feet apart without the swallows being aggressive toward each other. Bluebirds need to be about 300 feet apart to avert problems. Swallows and bluebirds can nest next to each other without problems. At the Guilford Salt Meadow Sanctuary Menunkatuck has seven Eastern Bluebird nest boxes mounted back-to-back with every third Tree Swallow box.
Another cavity nesting bird that benefits from nest boxes is the Wood Duck (Aix sponsa). In addition to the same lack of old trees with holes, Wood Ducks are threatened by climate change. Audubon's climate model predicts a 69 percent loss of current summer range by 2080. Nest boxes may help the species survive by providing the female ducks a place to lay and incubate her eggs.
Menunkatuck has Wood Duck boxes at several ponds in the area.