Farmers are reducing the environmental impacts of pesticide use by attracting birds of prey to their lands. In some areas, American kestrels -- small falcons -- are replacing chemicals by keeping pests and invasive species away from crops. Spearheading a move to bring more American kestrels to Michigan orchards, the researchers installed nest boxes to attract the falcons, the most common predatory birds in the U.S., to cherry orchards and blueberry fields. Kestrels consume crop pests such as grasshoppers, rodents and European starlings. In cherry orchards, the scientists found, kestrels significantly reduced the number of birds that eat fruit. Results from a related study of blueberry fields are pending.
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