The colorful Southeastern American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America. Unfortunately, its size complements its numbers, which have dwindled so much that researchers cannot say how many of the threatened species exist in Florida.
When FPL planned to replace power line poles in the Duette Preserve in Manatee County, staff found an opportunity to assist the kestrel while continuing to provide reliable power to customers. New, more storm-resilient power line poles replaced old wooden poles in the preserve.
For the kestrel, line workers recently attached kestrel boxes to four of the new poles – a first for the company – and preserved the old wooden poles that the kestrels used for nesting.
“We commend FPL for preserving and expanding nesting sites for the rare Southeastern American Kestrels at Manatee County’s Duette Preserve,” said Marianne Korosy, Audubon Florida Important Bird area coordinator. “Eighty percent of this subspecies has disappeared from the U.S. over the past 70 years. Decline is related to loss of habitat and widespread removal of nesting trees. FPL has set a bird-friendly precedent with this timely effort."
The Duette Preserve offers 21,000 acres of high quality foraging and nesting habitat for the non-migratory kestrel and FPL’s effort enhances it.
“With FPL’s donation of the poles and nest boxes, the county will be able to retain the existing nesting cavities and help our only resident kestrel species flourish,” said Manatee County Natural Resources Department Manager Max Dersch. “Duette Preserve has been a site on the Great Florida Birding Trail since 2003. This effort by FPL and the county’s planting of nearly 2 million trees in the past 12 years will ensure we maintain a beautiful preserve for the public, kestrels and other wildlife to enjoy.”
FPL has been committed to the protection of endangered and migratory birds for nearly three decades. The company’s 2007 Avian Protection Plan provides employees with an overview for protecting birds that is consistent with industry and federal guidelines.
“This project demonstrates how we are making upgrades to our infrastructure that will speed up service restoration and improve everyday reliability, while helping provide customers with the lowest electric bill in the state,” said FPL Environmental Project Manager Jackie Kingston. “We make these improvements for our customers while protecting and preserving the environment in which we work.”
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