Conserve Wildlife Blog

Photo from the field

May 11th, 2011

Installing a nestbox for peregrine falcons on a water tower

by Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager

Ben Wurst and Alf Breed installed this peregrine nestbox on a 120 foot water tower at Bayside State Prison near Delmont, NJ. © Kathy Clark, ENSP

The installation of a custom made nestbox on a water tower is no easy task. Just climbing this tower is a scary feat. First off the tower is over 70 years old and has little safety features on it.  You rely on your own climbing gear and strength to safely climb this tower. After several delays, we successfully got the nestbox up on the water tower where we hope to get peregrines from another nest site to nest.

This site was chosen because it is suitable habitat for peregrines to nest and there are adequate prey resources in the area (pigeons, starlings, and doves). Peregrine nest sites were once along the D. Bayshore in this area, but a recent study conducted in coastal Virginia found that peregrines there were negatively influencing the behavior of migratory shorebirds. This spring the decision was made to remove a nestbox that was located along the Bay to help protect species like the endangered red knot while they feed on horseshoe crab eggs.

I constructed the nestbox from salvaged wood from the Forest Resource Education Center’s sawmill. It’s a mixture of white cedar, western red cedar, and scrap plywood (from construction of bat houses). Reusing salvaged wood is something I am really passionate about. I make all sorts of things from it including picture frames that I sell, furniture, and osprey platforms.


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