Falcons using orchard nest boxes reduce fruit- eating bird abundances and provide economic benefits for a fruit- growing region

This study is based on the use of kestrels to reduce the abundance of fruit-eating birds in orchards. Counts and transect observations were made to investigate variation in bird abundance and estimate cherry loss in orchards where nest boxes were placed compared to areas without nest boxes.

 As a result of this comparison, in areas where nest boxes were placed, fewer birds were observed feeding on the fruit. An economic analysis of the installation of nest boxes was also carried out.

Costs were found to be highest in the first year. However, the costs were low enough for the net benefits to be approximately equal to the benefits. In addition, through regional economic modelling it was estimated that increased cherry production from reduced bird damage by kestrel activity would generate 46-50 jobs and $2.2 million to $2.4 million in income in Michingan over a five-year period. Thus, nest boxes are an effective tool that can improve regulating ecosystem services and, at the same time, maintain or increase the breeding population of the kestrel.

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