Department of Planning and Natural Resources
Division of Fish and Wildlife
U.S.V.I. Animal Fact Sheet #21
Kestrel Nest Box
12 Inches Roof
1 inch thick
Rough, untreated lumber
Wood Screws 1-1/2" long
Drill with 3-inch hole-saw
1 inch thick
While many people enjoy having kestrels in the vicinity of their house, occasionally kestrel
parents become aggressive towards humans. This is a protective response that generally occurs
when older chicks get ready to fly. This aggressive behavior may result in human-kestrel
conflicts. Should this occur, please call the Division of Fish and Wildlife. Because kestrels
reuse their nest sites, the DFW can work with the homeowner to reduce these conflicts in the
future. We have a very limited number of nest boxes that we can install on an as-needed basis
for people with serious problems.
For those interested in constructing their own kestrel nest box we provide this plan. Remember
it is illegal to harass these birds. So if you plan to create nesting sites be aware that there are
other responsibilities associated with this endeavor.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Use a durable wood that weathers well. DO NOT USE TREATED LUMBER. Rough-
cut cypress, redwood or cedar are naturally rot and termite resistant and need no further
treatment. If the wood is smooth, scratch the inside of the box (scoring) below the
opening to allow the young to climb to the nest hole to leave the nest.
2. Never paint or stain the inside of the box.
3. Drill two 3/8 inch holes at the top of the sides for ventilation.
4. Drill five 1/4 inch holes in the flood for water drainage.
5. Since kestrels do not carry nesting material into the box, place an inch or two of wood
shavings or coarse sawdust on the bottom to prevent eggs from rolling about. Do not use
cedar or chemically treated shavings or sawdust because it is harmful to the young.
6. Place the box on a pole, building or tree at least 15 feet above ground level. The area
around and in front of the box should be free of branches and other vegetation to allow a
free flight path into the box. The opening should be facing away from prevailing wind.
7. Monitor the box to keep pearly-eyed thrashers from taking up residence.
8. Be patient. It may take a year or more for your kestrels to use the nest box.
9. Periodic cleaning of nest material and repairs to the box may be necessary after the
10. Do not put perches on nesting boxes. They are unnecessary and attract unwanted birds.
If you get a kestrel to nest in your box please let us know about your success.
Written by William Coles, Judy Pierce 2003.
THIS PUBLICATION WAS PRODUCED WITH
FUNDS FROM THE WILDLIFE
CONSERVATION AND RESTORATION
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON
OUR NATIVE ANIMALS CONTACT
DIVISION OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
6291 ESTATE NAZARETH, 101,
ST. THOMAS, VI 00802
PHONE 340-775-6762 FAX 340-775-3972
45 MARS HILL, ST. CROIX, VI 00840
PHONE 340-772-1955 FAX 340-772-3227