American kestrel nest box occupancy and success in cranberry bogs in Southeastern Massachusetts.
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American Kestrel (Falco spaverius) Northeastern populations have been declining over the past decades. European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) competition for nest boxes with American Kestrels have also increased. This study examined local, landscape, and weather variables around kestrel nest boxes in cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon) bogs across southeast Massachusetts in order to determine how the kestrel nest box occupancy and fledging success and the starling occupancy changed over time and which variables encouraged kestrel nest occupancy and success and discouraged starling occupancy. We used data collected from an 18- year study, ArcGIS, and generalized linear mixed models in order to create models to determine these impacts. We found that kestrel nest box occupancy and success decreased over time, while kestrel nest box failure stayed consistent and starling kestrel nest box occupancy increased. Kestrel fledging success stayed relatively consistent throughout the study. We also found that cranberry and grassland area, as well as distance to nearest nest box and human habitation were significant variables in predicting kestrel nest box occupancy and fledging success, while only distance to nearest nest box and human habitation were significant to predicting starling occupancy.
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