The kestrel is the most common raptor in the city of Vienna. Since 2010, the "Vienna Kestrel Project" has been investigating how these falcons have adapted to city life. A key component of our research is knowledge about nest locations which allow us to access broods for further investigation. The Vienna Kestrel Project was initiated by Dr. Petra Sumasgutner and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Anita Gamauf as a cooperation between the University of Vienna and the Natural History Museum (Bird Collection) Vienna. The project was financially supported by the City of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Vienna Science and Technology Fund (Hochschuljubiläumsstiftung), and has benefited incredibly from the continuous support by the media and the general public in Vienna. After the first calls to report nesting sites, more than 1000 reports were received by telephone in the first year alone. The active participation of the population in reporting occupied nests has been maintained over all these years and greatly facilitates our research with this charismatic falcon species. We post videos and photos keep the population involved and share the results of our research on our popular Facebook page.
Anyone who can identify kestrels and can distinguish them clearly from other bird species (e.g. swifts, sparrowhawks).
The Kestrel Project is managed at the Konrad Lorenz Research Centre as part of the University of Vienna and is organized in the scope of PhD, MSc and BSc projects. The direct data collection with the handling of wild birds at their nesting site including the individual ringing, morphometric measurement and blood sampling is conducted by scientific staff and students in the project, as this requires special training and permitting.
The citizen science component refers to observations of the breeding cycle, since often a direct view into the breeding niche is granted from apartments or other buildings on the opposite side of the road. Thus, the time of egg laying, as well as the hatching and fledging of the young falcons can be documented exactly without causing any disturbance. In Vienna, over 500 kestrels breeding sites are known.
Personal data is only stored directly in the e-mail, WhatsApp and Facebook correspondence and is exclusively available to the project leader Dr. Petra Sumasgutner for further inquiries. They are limited to the extent to which they were disclosed by the respective reporting person during the data transfer.
The (anonymized) data management is regulated by MoUs (Memorandum of Understandings) with the respective cooperation partners: Natural History Museum Vienna (NHM); Vienna Environmental Protection Department (MA22); Austrian Ornithological Centre (AOC); BirdLife Austria; Bird:at.
The project has been running since 2010 and is planned to continue until at least 2024. Messages can be sent to us at any time.
In the entire city of Vienna.
If you discover nesting sites, we would be happy to hear about these locations!
As of 2020 we have received about 660 reports of kestrel nests; only approx. 60% of which are occupied per year. We were able to add new nest locations every year and count on our citizen scientists to keep the momentum going - we would be happy to receive any information about known breeding sites from you! The guidelines for the management of the nest site database are listed directly at MA22, the Wiener Umweltgut, at https://www.wien.gv.at/info/datenschutz/index.html.
We kindly ask you to provide us with the address of the nesting site with an exact description of the location - you might have insights of a yet unknown kestrel nest! We would also appreciate to receive data on the breeding cycle, preferably with photos showing egg laying, hatching and fledging of the young falcons.
Please send messages to:
+43 664 5666045 (phone and Whatsapp)