Written by: James Hanson, Digital Communications Manager & GIS Specialist, Duke Farms Foundation
Every day at Duke Farms is different. It makes choosing clothing to work a day-to-day decision. Do I have a meeting to attend? (dress pants and a logo oxford) Do I have field work to do? (jeans and a t-shirt) While scanning my closet, I remembered today was going to be a field day – a great field day banding kestrels – and reached for an old pair of jeans and a T-shirt. Now I was ready for work!
This week I was particularly excited about field work since we planned on placing geolocators (small GPS devices used to track wildlife) along with bands on each female kestrel we find on nest. Tracking wildlife has always fascinated me, especially when technology is involved. Modern day microelectronics combined with GPS technology has made it possible for researchers to track smaller species of wildlife, leading us to this day.
Duke Farms has participated in Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ’s (CWF NJ) American Kestrel Nest Box Monitoring Program since 2007. The monitoring program was established to combat the declining northeastern kestrel population. Today the kestrel is officially listed as State Threatened in New Jersey. They are not endangered or threatened, but they are on their way to becoming listed. This threat is why the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ increases conservation efforts through improved monitoring.
This improved monitoring program is exactly what CWF NJ has done by collaborating with NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Program to initiate the use of geolocators to monitor kestrels.
Duke Farms was very pleased to collaborate on this project to reveal spatial and temporal migration and wintering patterns of kestrels in New Jersey in an attempt to fill the information gap during this part of their annual cycle.
Watch a short clip of my field visit assisting in the banding and geolocator placement process below:
The following gallery shows different steps of the banding and geolocator placement process: