American Kestrel in flight
American Kestrel Flying American Kestrel in flight © Ed Dunens

The Nature Conservancy in Utah

Watch Kestrels at the Great Salt Lake

About the Kestrels

Learn more about the kestrels and our work to protect migratory bird habitat at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve in Utah.

Highlights from Season 1 Missed the first season of our kestrel nest cam? Watch this highlight reel to see the kestrel's amazing lifecycle.

Kestrel Nest Cam 2018: Season One

UPDATE: As of June 6, 2018, all five kestrels have left the nest. They are now off spreading their wings and hunting at the Great Salt Lake. Thank you for joining us during the debut season of our kestrel cam. We hope you'll join us again next year!

Previously on the nest cam:

May 2018: After a month of incubation, the kestrels have finally hatched! Over the course of the next few weeks, these chicks will grow rapidly until they resemble miniature adult kestrels.

April 2018: Our resident male and female kestrels are expecting! During the brief window when one of the kestrels vacates the nest, you can see a clutch of 5 small eggs, all laid between April 3 and April 10, 2018. Because there are now eggs in the box, you should see the kestrels in the nest more often. The incubation period is approximately 30 days, which means we should expect to see some baby kestrels in early May.

Currently, you can see the kestrels in the box pretty consistently. The female and the male share brooding duties, and will take turns sitting on the eggs throughout the day. We recommend keeping a tab open in your browser and listening for their trills to know when they are switching.

March 2018: The kestrels are currently in the middle of their courtship. A male and a female are using the box, which we believe are a mating pair. During the beginning of their "relationship," you may have seen the male dangling a mouse or vole in the opening on the box to lure in the female, which is all part of this courtship ritual. Now you can observe two different kestrels visiting the nest. This will hopefully result in some eggs in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy watching these two love-birds!

For the past eight years, American kestrels have visited the nest box at The Nature Conservancy’s preserve near the Great Salt Lake. Though fairly common across North America, in recent years scientists have reported declines in American kestrel populations. For that reason, kestrels are a welcome sight at the Great Salt Lake and their presence is a strong indicator of the overall health of the surrounding wetland ecosystem.

This nestbox is one of 25 on TNC lands along the Great Salt Lake Shoreline. We partner with HawkWatch International (HWI), whose army of citizen scientists monitor these boxes along with 400+ others in Northern Utah each spring, and have done so since 2013. Our goal is to understand nesting success and survival of kestrels along an urban gradient. HWI scientists also band adult and nestling kestrels to better understand movement, survival, and seasonal population turnover. To learn more visit:

Have questions or comments about the kestrels? Place them in the comments section below and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.

The Nature Conservancy and its partners are working to protect wetlands along the Great Salt Lake, one of the western hemisphere’s most important stopovers for migrating birds, including American kestrels. Our Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve is a unique system of salt and fresh water marshes, ponds, pools, sloughs and mudflats, providing a rich feeding ground for tens of thousands of migrating birds each year. By improving conditions at the Great Salt Lake, the Nature Conservancy in Utah helps protect nature for kestrels and other wildlife that are indicators of environmental health.

Please support our work by making a donation today.

Want to learn more about The Nature Conservancy’s work in Utah? Like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram to stay updated on other conservation projects across the state.

Help Protect Migratory Birds at the Great Salt Lake

Support our work in Utah, including the preservation of migratory bird habitat at the Great Salt Lake Shorelands Preserve, by making a charitable contribution today.