This is the fourth consecutive year that a pair has successfully bred at this location. Phil Brown, Essex County Ornithological Club birding enthusiast and “grandfather” of the Kestrels at Strawberry Hill, has lovingly tending to the Kestrel box for nearly a decade, and it wasn’t until four years ago the first nesting pair arrived and a breeding pair has returned every year since. This year five males were born, and MassWildlife State Ornithologist Drew Vitz came to band the fledglings, while the parents cautiously observed nearby. This breeding success story is particularly exciting because the American Kestrel, smallest of the falcons, although common across North America, is experiencing a long-term and gradual, sustained decline of its breeding population, particularly in New England, and especially in Essex County. We are pleased that Strawberry Hill, one of the Town’s premier conservation properties protected through the Open Space Bond Program, has created a safe place for the American Kestrel to thrive, and especially grateful to Phil Brown for his role in helping to make that happen.