February 19, 2018
Scout Hopes to Attract Kestrels Back to the Mid-Hudson Valley
Rhinebeck, NY –Kristopher O’Brien, a Boy Scout with Troop 128; Ellen Henneberry, Director of Development for Winnakee Land Trust; and members of Winnakee’s Burger Hill Committee, have been working together on a project to install Kestrel nesting boxes at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill. The project has spanned many months and is now in the final stages. O’Brien began planning the project in the winter of 2017 as a final step towards earning the rank of Eagle Scout.
The boxes, set to be installed Saturday, February 24 from 10:00 a.m.-noon, will attract Kestrels to Burger Hill, help to build their population, and allow for their study. “I am excited to see this project come to fruition and hope to see Kestrels nesting in their new houses this spring!” exclaimed O’Brien. “This has been a great project to support my quest for Eagle Scout.”
The Kestrel population in the Mid-Hudson Valley has been on the decline over recent years, but this project promises to help attract the small falcons back to the area. On February 24th, representatives of Winnakee Land Trust and O’Brien will be at the park to install the boxes in preparation for the upcoming nesting season in March. Once the boxes are mounted, Winnakee will be able to monitor and observe the Kestrels year after year. O’Brien has built eight additional boxes which he plans to donate to Winnakee, to be placed at other locations in the region.
To earn the rank of Eagle Scout, a candidate must plan, organize, execute, and lead a service project to benefit a nonprofit organization in their local area. This is one of the final steps in earning the rank of Eagle Scout for O’Brien.
“We are grateful to Kris for his hard work on this project,” said Frank Margiotta, Winnakee Board Member, Burger Hill Committee member, and Ralph T. Waterman Bird Club Education Co-Chair. “I expect these nesting boxes to make a positive impact on the local kestrel population that can use our help”.
As an accredited land trust, Winnakee protects over 2500 acres of local farmland and natural habitats from development and is working to permanently secure many more. Winnakee provides public recreational opportunities at Drayton Grant Park at Burger Hill in Rhinebeck and Winnakee Nature Preserve and Arboretum in Hyde Park. Through the years, Winnakee has established miles of regional public access trails and are working to expand this effort in 2018.