Cavity Nester Citizen Science Study

Academic Enrichment Grant

 2018-2019 Project Summary

Nikki Wayment

HawkWatch International, Inc. • Salt Lake City, UT

In 2012, HawkWatch International (HWI) launched an American Kestrel nest box study to learn more about the causes behind declining populations of American Kestrels. However, the same habitat that is suitable for Kestrels—small cavities—is also great for other cavity-nesting birds, leading us to want to broaden the study. Realizing the educational benefits of including students in the project—and their ability to help broaden the study—HWI created a school-based “Cavity Nester Urban Bird Study” in partnership with the Salt Lake Center for Science Education (SLCSE) in 2017. Designed to be a student-led expansion to the project, the study has allowed them to start studying all cavity-nesting birds living in urban settings. The goals are to collect data that allows an understanding of their survivorship and reproductive success, and to reinforce high school math and science concepts by allowing students to gain hands-on experience in field biology. Students will complete a field journal where they will record observations, collect data, and draw conclusions. They will also present their findings at a symposium open to their peers, families, and the broader community. These journals and presentations can be shared to draw attention to the project and its benefit to local students.

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