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  I doubt that any were nesting in Miami-Dade County in the 1950s. I
must check with Dick Cunningham about this , but there were certainly
none here from 1964 on as nesting birds(they are very common wintering
birds and I saw one here two days ago). Bill Robertson told me that
red-cockaded woodpeckers held on until the late 1950s at least in isolated
south Dade pinelands. The reintroduction of Brown-headed Nuthatches and
Eastern Bluebirds into the pinelands of ENP was going well the last that I
heard(they were using birds from the Big Cypress Preserve I beieve), but
the bobcats seeming to be decimating the reintroduced Turkeys. We will
see. I also need to check to see what other reintroductions(Bachman's
Sparrow?) are planned in ENP.
  Bob Kelley
  [log in to unmask]
  Coral Gables, FL

On Sat, 29 Mar 2003, Bryant Roberts wrote:

> Hello Robert,
>
> Your question prompted me to check my old copy of "Florida Bird
> Life" (the 1954 version with a 1963 addendum) which gave the
> range of the Little Sparrow Hawk (Falco sparverius paulus) as
> "Resident and locally common throughout the state, except on the
> lower keys, where it is not known to breed".
>
> My personal experience with this bird is limited to Alachua County
> where it nests in the southwestern part of the county in areas with
> scattered large pines with a grassy understory maintained either by
> fire, grazing, or mowing.  These areas are also frequently inhabited
> by Sherman's Fox Squirrels and other plants and animals
> characteristic of dry and open grassy pineland.  According to long
> time Gainesville birders Kestrels were once a common nesting
> species throughout Alachua County when most of the county was
> used for ranching but they withdrew to the fringe areas with onset
> of residential development in and around Gainesville.  There has
> been an attempt to encourage Kestrels to resume nesting around
> Payne's Prairie by setting up nesting boxes in open grassy areas
> but to my knowledge they haven't made use of these boxes.
>
> With the return of Eastern Bluebirds and Brown-headed Nuthatches
> to the Long Pine Key area of Everglades National Park area there
> may be some reason to hope for a return of Kestrels as a breeding
> species.  But there are some things that may impede this, at least
> for a while.  One is the size of the trees that are required for a large
> enough nesting cavity, another is the continued loss of what little
> dry pineland habitat remains in South Florida.  Providing nesting
> boxes in suitable areas that lack large enough trees may
> encourage the return of the nesting Kestrels, but the restoration of
> large upland areas to open pineland would probably be necessary.
>
> It would be interesting to hear about any summer kestrel sightings
> from the area just north of Lake Okeechobee southward to get
> some idea of the current southern limit of the Little Sparrow Hawks
> range.
>
> Bryant
>
>
>

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