Perplexing Decline

Perplexing Decline

UNT Diving Eagle
April 19, 2024

UNT College of Science researchers are working to discover why American Kestrels are disappearing from North American skies. The birds are plentiful in the North Texas region during the winter. Preliminary results have found that annual survival of American Kestrels wintering in North Texas is relatively high at 70-82%.

Biological sciences students Brooke Prater and Maddy Kaleta along with Jim Bednarz, associate clinical professor in biological sciences, are working to understand why numbers overall are declining for this smallest of North American falcons. Their research has been previously featured in a cover story of Audubon magazine.

“We infer that kestrel survival is probably at most risk during their migrations, especially their first fall migration,” Bednarz says. “That’s why our current research emphasis is on documenting and understanding the risks that kestrels face on their migratory journeys.”

Feature photo by Scott Kimball