Term of Award

Fall 1997

Degree Name

Master of Science

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

John W. Parrish

Committee Member 1

William Irby

Committee Member 2

Stephen Vives

Abstract

In an attempt to increase breeding populations of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius) in Georgia, 402 nest boxes were erected in the Coastal Plain of Georgia beginning in 1994 through the spring of 1996. Nest box occupancy averaged 8% in 1996 and 9.7% in 1997, two fold the average in 1995. Occupancy at Fort Gordon military base averaged 27.5% (28 of 102) in 1996 and 29 4% (30 of 102) in 1997 Nest box use in all other areas averaged 13% (4 of 300) in 1996 and increased to 3% (9 of 300) in 1997. Clutch sizes for nests fledging at least one kestrel averaged 4.6 eggs/nest in 1996 and 4 8 eggs/nest in 1997. Success of all nesting attempts was 82 4% in 1996, but dropped to 69% in 1997. In Fort Gordon, 22 of 28 (78.6%) attempts succeeded in 1996, whereas 77.4% succeeded in 1997. Nests located in other areas excluding Fort Gordon succeeded 100% in 1996, but dropped below half that to 45.5% in 1997. In 1996, 94 kestrels (76%) fledged and 93 (74%) fledged in 1997. Nests at Fort Gordon produced 81% of the total young fledged from all the boxes in 1996 and increased to 89% in 1997. On average, 3 5 young fledged per successful nest in 1996, similar to 3.6 young that fledged per nest in 1997. The sex ratio of banded young in 1996 was 52% males and 48% females, compared to 56% males and 44% females in 1997. Based on body size comparisons with Florida's population and the non-migratory habits of kestrels in this study, we believe the kestrels nesting along the Coastal Plains of Georgia are Falco sparvenus paulus.

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