Breeding season wrap-up and call for winter feathers

The 2017 American Kestrel breeding season is well behind us, and the numbers are in! This breeding season, we received feather samples from 610 American Kestrels from across the breeding range!

Collaborators from 25 states sent us feathers from kestrels in their nest boxes, trapping sites, and rehabilitation facilities.

With the samples sent off to the genetics lab at University of California, Los Angeles for analyses, we are making great strides towards understanding the genetic structure of breeding kestrel populations.


This map shows locations where we have received feathers from American Kestrels in the breeding season (orange), migration season (yellow) and winter season (blue) from 2017 and prior years. (Not pictured: Alaska). We welcome samples from all locations, but if you work with kestrels in an areas without dots, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please SIGN UP to contribute feathers, or see our GET INVOLVED page to find out more. 

Full annual cycle research does not slow down with the cooling temperatures, and with winter upon us, the next phase of the Full Cycle Phenology project is shaping up. By sampling kestrels during migration and overwintering, we hope to be able to map individuals back to their breeding population of origin and to assess migratory connectivity and WE NEED YOUR HELP!

If you work with wintering kestrels please consider contributing feather samples. If you aren’t on our list yet, please SIGN UP to get your sampling kit mailed to you. If you are already signed up, but need more sampling envelopes, please Contact Us .



Spring Update: American Kestrel Genoscape

The American Kestrel breeding season is well underway and kestrel researchers, citizen scientists, and wildlife rehabbers from across the U.S. and Canada have been diligently collecting feather samples to create the American Kestrel Genoscape.


It has been fantastic to connect with people working with kestrels across their breeding range, and we are excited to learn more about the different breeding populations from Alaska down to Florida, and from coast to coast across the continental U.S. and Canada! In 2017, we have had 28 feather contributers sign up from 16 states, and 5 Canadian provinces, bringing our total sampling area to 24 states, and 5 provinces from 2016-2017 (see map below).

Although we have had a great show of support and feather sample contributers, we are still in need of feather samples, particularly from the Midwest (see map below). If you work with kestrels in this area, please SIGN UP to contribute feather samples. We have little information about kestrels in this region, which may use different migratory flyways and wintering locations than eastern or western populations.

This map shows locations where we have feather sample contributers (2016: blue dots, 2017: orange dots).
We welcome samples from all locations, but if you work with kestrels in an areas without dots, WE NEED YOUR HELP! Please SIGN UP to contribute feathers, or see our GET INVOLVED page to find out more.