Nestboxes of kestrels and red-footed falcons
Electricity lines offer a possibility for positively
contributing to biodiversity. Thanks to the collaboration
with Terna, the Italian electricity distributor, we installed over
350 artificial nest boxes for small raptors on powerlines in central and northern Italy.
Most of the nestboxes are occupied by Eurasian kestrels, while tawny owls, jays and sparrows occupied only a few nestboxes. In 2010, we mounted also nests for red-footed falcons (Falco vespertinus) in northern Italy, in the hope of increasing the breeding population of this rare and endangered species.
The large population of kestrels breeding in our artificial nest boxes has been, and still is, throughly studied by our team, resulting in a series of publications on scientific journals.
Topics include oxidative stress and hormones in kestrels, exposure to magnetic fields of powerlines, ecotoxicology, evolutionary genetics and behavioural ecology (see publications). For example, in 2006 we published a paper demonstrating the existence of two genetically dissimilar populations of kestrels breeding in central Italy, divided by breeding period.