Support Quarry Hill by volunteering or joining our non-profit friends group.
Please visit the Get Involved section to learn more.
Singer/songwriter, John Denver, not only knew how to put music together, he also had a way of stating how easy it can be for people to get involved:
"No one person has to do it all but if each one of us follow our heart and our own inclinations we will find the small things that we can do to create a sustainable future and healthy environment "
Getting involved in protecting and cherishing our environment can be as easy as going for a hike, putting out a bird feeder, or supporting a local environmental organization such as Quarry Hill.
Each month we will have a different idea you and your family can try that will help our natural world.
A Citizen Science Project: Kestrel Watch!
Across the world, thousands of citizens are helping scientists monitor changes in the environment and wildlife populations by becoming astute observers. Networks of these citizen volunteers help research scientists gather large volumes of information that they otherwise would not be able to collect. Audubon's annual Christmas Bird Count, which began in 1900, is the longest running citizen science project known. This spring, The Raptor Center of Minnesota launched its own citizen science project called Kestrel Watch.
Why kestrels? Since about 2000, The Raptor Center has seen a precipitous decline in the number of kestrels admitted to the center; from 107 admissions in 2000 to only 22 last year. At the same time, admissions of Cooper's hawks have doubled, from 54 admissions in 2000 to 114 last year. At this point, no one knows whether these findings are correlated, or even whether the reduction in kestrel admissions represents a decline of the species in the wild.
What we do know is that as an edge species, kestrels need both open hunting grounds, such as fields or meadows, and stands of trees to nest and roost. American kestrel numbers increased substantially as pioneers cleared the eastern forests. Today, however, kestrels face many challenges in the wild.
Information on kestrel conservation is sparse, however. Through Kestrel Watch, The Raptor Center hopes to decode the rapid decline in American kestrel admissions. To join Kestrel Watch, all you need to do is brush up on your observation and reporting skills. When you see a kestrel, record the day and time of your observation. Make note of what the bird was doing. Was it hunting? Perched? Feeding? How many kestrels were there? If you feel comfortable identifying the bird's gender, report that, too. (Above information provided from http://www.raptor.cvm.umn.edu/ web site)
The Raptor Center would love to learn about your kestrel observations. Just click on Submit A Kestrel Sighting to report your sightings.
Quick American Kestrel Identification:
Kestrels are small colorful falcons, about 9" in length with a 22" wingspan. They weigh in at only 100-125g (3.5-4.4oz) and have a characteristic black stripe (called a mallor stripe) extending down the sides of their cheeks. Males and females are different colors which can aid in their identification.
Females are generally cinnamon in color with barred wings and tail (pictured left).
Males have bluish-gray wings and a solid cinnamon tail with a single dark band at the tip (pictured left). When perched, kestrels often "pump" their tails and are known to hover in flight as they search for their next meal.