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Kestrel Nesting Box

Giving birds a safe place to land at solar sites

Kestrels are medium-sized birds of prey that fall under the falcon family. They play a crucial role in maintaining balance in ecosystems by controlling rodent and insect populations. As predators, they help to prevent overpopulation and potential damage to crops. 

The Midwest’s kestrel population has declined by 1.3% every year since 1966. The Central Wisconsin Kestrel Research (CWKR) project is trying to better understand the birds, the reason for the decline and ways to help them flourish in Wisconsin again. In October 2023, Alliant Energy began partnering with CWKR to install nesting boxes at our solar project sites across Iowa and Wisconsin.

Kestrels, like other birds, help maintain a balanced ecosystem by controlling rodent populations. Nesting boxes provide a suitable habitat for Kestrels to breed and raise their young with minimal human disturbance. The boxes also create habitat opportunities to enhance the local ecosystem while also impacting renewable energy. 

Giving kestrels a safe place to nest results in more than just natural pest control at our sites, it also helps to reduce the need for pesticides and amplifies the overall natural ecosystem in these areas.

At our Wood County Solar project, students in the Nekoosa Middle School tech ed class constructed several kestrel nesting boxes. The class learned about kestrel conservation efforts and used their skill and ingenuity to incorporate unique features in the boxes they built - including 3D printed accessories and a time-lapse camera to see what’s happening inside. With help from the CWKR team, we identified the best areas to install the nesting boxes and mounted them on poles around the site.

Middle school students, Alliant Energy employees wearing hard hats and a kestrel handler holding a kestrel at Wood County Solar.

The integration of kestrel nesting boxes with the help of the Nekoosa students and the CWKR marks a big win for sustainability, conservation and renewable energy. Together, we are building a brighter future near our solar projects and surrounding communities.

Learn more about our other wildlife conservation efforts here.

Emily Barnhill is our Digital Marketing Intern this semester. She is currently a senior at University of Wisconsin-Madison studying Human Development and Family Studies with certificates in Digital Studies and Entrepreneurship.

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