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Historical Status of the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius paulus) in Florida

Mark L. Hoffman and Michael W. Collopy
The Wilson Bulletin
Vol. 100, No. 1 (Mar., 1988), pp. 91-107
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4162520
Page Count: 17
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Historical Status of the American Kestrel (Falco sparverius paulus) in Florida
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Abstract

We investigated the magnitude and cause of the decline in numbers of Florida's resident population of American Kestrels (Falco sparverius paulus) by contrasting the records of early oologists and present-day observations. Historical information was available for three different region-habitat type combinations. In areas formerly dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) flatwoods in north-central Florida (Alachua and Levy counties), kestrels have declined an estimated 82% since the early 1940s; nest-site availability has decreased significantly due to the clearing of isolated longleaf pine trees from agricultural fields. Along the central Florida ridge in Lake, Orange, and Seminole counties, kestrels declined with the conversion of the original longleaf pine-turkey oak (Quercus laevis) vegetation to citrus groves. Recent observations indicate a very small population now exists in this area. In Dade County, the kestrel apparently disappeared as a breeding species from the pine forests of the Miami Rocklands between 1935 and 1950. The cause of the kestrel's extirpation in this region is unclear.

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