Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New Mexico
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New Mexico Project

Identifying environmental and demographic drivers of American kestrel population declines to inform conservation actions

March 2022 - June 2024


Participating Agencies

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Science Support Partnership

American kestrels have been steadily declining across their North American range for several decades. Kestrels are primarily associated with open country and grasslands, and grassland birds are among the most rapidly declining avian groups in North America. Though kestrels are among the most heavily studied raptor species, previously published demographic analyses at local-scales have failed to identify potential causes of population declines. Thus, broad, continental-scale population analyses that use more available data sources may offer insights into causes of population declines that can inform conservation actions. This project is a collaboration of researchers across multiple agencies and includes the USGS New Mexico Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, USFWS National Raptor Program, USFWS Migratory Bird Management Southwest Region, USFWS Migratory Birds, and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. This research will be used to identify potential conservation actions that could address the causes of population declines identified by the population models. We will use decision analysis tools to then identify regional-scale research priorities that could test the effectiveness of conservation actions and further elucidate drivers of kestrel population dynamics.