Wisconsin Kestrels

Unfortunately, the 2020 breeding attempt of the Wisconsin American Kestrels has failed. After laying 5 eggs and days of dedicated incubation, the female kestrel left the box sometime during the morning of April 28 and never returned. The male kestrel continued to try and incubate the eggs for a day, but he is unable to care for them alone and appears to have abandoned the nesting attempt.

We and our collaborators at Cornell are saddened by the loss but hopeful that kestrels will return to nesting in the box soon. Thank you for watching and we’ll hopefully see you and the kestrels back here in 2021!


Two American kestrels are nesting in a gravel-bottomed nest near Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin. Their nest box, located on the side of a traditional limestone-footed barn, overlooks a rolling grassland that slopes away into the folded hills and forests of the Driftless. A nearby stream cuts through deeply incised limestone to join the Mississippi river roughly four miles west of the nest. This wonderful combination of grassland, forest, and water has supported kestrels for over 25 years, and is an excellent example of the habitat that kestrels need to survive and thrive.

In general, the kestrels return to their box in February or March. Egg-laying begins in April or May, and eggs hatch roughly 26 to 32 days after they are laid. The young fledge between 28 and 31 days of age. Like peregrine falcons and bald eagles, American kestrel fledglings remain near the nest before dispersing in late summer. They eat invertebrates, small rodents, and birds including grasshoppers, cicadas, beetles, dragonflies, spiders, butterflies and moths, voles, mice, shrews, small songbirds, small snakes, lizards, and frogs. To learn more about American Kestrels, please visit our partner Cornell Lab of Ornithology at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/American_Kestrel/lifehistory.

American Kestrel Video Playlist

Click the icon on the top left of the stream to view a full list of videos from our 2020 playlist, or visit our playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLeNR2ocnlCOcF-e5P5qNMOjEMFZWhVsVi