Each spring for the past 10 years, Onskie has observed American kestrel falcons nesting nearby. Shortly thereafter, Nu-Sun partnered with American Kestrel Partnership and Boise State University in Idaho on a project to capture images and data on the birds. Researchers and citizen scientists are involved in this project across North America due to long term declines in kestrel populations in numerous regions since 1966. Mating habits, egg laying, climate information and more is all tracked and shared online.
"We’ve been supplying them with data since we started this," Onskie said. "We’ve even done feather samples for DNA testing in 2017."
This year, the pair of kestrels returned north a little earlier than usual, around March 13.
"It was really weird this year," Onskie said. "Typically, the male is here first, or they’re here together. This year the female was here first. But, the male has showed up on the same day three years in a row, to the day - March 23. He even knew to give himself an extra day this year, it being leap year. That’s pretty incredible."
The pair of rare birds have been nicknamed Lady Winnipeg and Mr. Manitoba by Laurie D., a loyal American visitor to Nu-Sun’s Kestrel Korner website.