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Kestrel box to help reverse a species in decline

Kestrels have a new nest box at Chesworth Farm in Horsham, thanks to UK Power Networks.

Electricity linesmen teamed up with Friends of Chesworth Farm to help kestrel numbers recover by donating and installing an electricity pole fitted with a new nest box in Holloway Field.

Sarah Singleton, an engineering team leader at UK Power Networks, 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.”

Tim Thomas, volunteer and conservationist for Friends of Chesworth Farm, said: “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 box might give them 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. Small rodents also provide an excellent food source all year.

“UK Power Networks has worked with us before and they are very practical, which is useful because this project would not be easy for our current volunteer group. 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 would always welcome new volunteers to help with the many smaller jobs around the farm.”

Chesworth Farm, owned and maintained by Horsham District Council, is close to Horsham town centre and supports a wide variety of wildlife from robins and blackbirds to declining species such as barn owls, kestrels and dormice.

Image: UK Power Networks volunteers with the new kestrel box at Chesworth Farm – Dave Mitchelson, Paul Maynard, Lee Carron, Graham Willard and Craig Wyeth

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