Kestrel box to boost a species in decline

UK Power Networks volunteers with the new box
UK Power Networks volunteers with the new box

Kestrels have a new nest box at Chesworth farm in Horsham to help reverse the decline in their numbers, thanks to UK Power Networks.

Electricity linesmen teamed up with the Friends of Chesworth Farm group by donating and installing an electricity pole fitted with a new nest box in Holloway field.

Kestrels were virtually eliminated from some parts of the UK in the 19th century when they were targeted by gamekeepers.

The species made a dramatic comeback but recently witnessed a drop in numbers of 29 per cent.

Tim Thomas, volunteer and conservationist with Friends of Chesworth Farm, said: “The box might give the birds additional opportunities to find safe nesting. There are good food sources around the farm and at the height of the season mature crickets in our meadows provide good food for the youngsters.

“We encourage kestrels to use the farm. They visit us regularly and we know they breed locally but it’s a species of conservation concern throughout the country and they need all the help they can get.

“The help UK Power Networks is giving us in donating the pole and using big equipment to put the pole in the field is wonderful. Having said this, the Friends of Chesworth Farm (FCF) would always welcome new volunteers to help with the many smaller jobs around the farm.”

The FCF is a local group that supports the farm and its volunteers help carry out practical conservation tasks.

Engineering team leader at UK Power Networks, Sarah Singleton, said: “We will keep our fingers crossed next spring that kestrels start using the new box. The farm is a wildlife haven where local schoolchildren can learn about protecting our wildlife and the countryside.

“Our teams spent two days volunteering there this summer by installing boxes for dormice, another species in decline. We were then asked if we could help with the kestrel project and as we have the specialist skills and equipment needed for this work we were pleased to help.”