More Than Just Trees - The American Kestrel

February 3, 2013:  The American Kestrel is one of 18 raptor species that J.D. Irving (JDI) Woodlands looks out for and protects on the 5.5 million acres (2,023,000 hectares) of forest land that we manage across New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine.

The Kestrel (Falco Sparverius) is one of our most colourful avian carnivores, with the male having slate-blue wings and head coupled with a rusty-red back.  It is about the size of a Blue Jay, and it has incredible eyesight that allows it to spot to its prey (mice, voles, crickets, and grasshoppers) from a high perch or while hovering.
 
Meeting the conservation needs of the Kestrel and other wildlife within a sustainable, working forest is a daily commitment at JDI.  The company has full-time wildlife staff whose role includes the annual development and roll out of over 800 hours of training in the regions where JDI operates.  This training includes continuing education on wildlife issues, including the identification and protection of cavity nests in old trees (snags) and stick nests.
 
Today close to 35,000 acres (14,160 hectares) of special bird habitat have been identified and are being protected by the company’s award-winning Unique Areas Program (examples include kestrels, herons, eagles, osprey, peregrine falcons, and goshawks).  To date there are 192 unique areas set aside on JDI-managed forests for this specific purpose.

JDI's policy of maintaining biological diversity relies on environmental training for staff and contractors that includes the following:
 
• Rare plant habitat pre-screening
• Maintaining vertical structure (islands) and legacy trees
• Vernal pools
• Protection of raptor and heron stick nests
• Introduction to Forest Species of Concern
• Unique Areas Program
• GIS database and mapping of significant environmental sites
• Sustainable Forest Management report cards
• Company, Department of Natural Resources, and other third-party audit inspections
 
More than 20 percent of the JDI land base throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Maine has a primary use that is non-timber.  JDI recognizes ecologically significant sites across the lands the company manages, including over 1150 unique areas that it is conserving (about 214,000 acres or 86,600 hectares).  Many of those sites are significant for birds, rare/uncommon plants, or invertebrates.  “In all but a few of these sites, there is no legal requirement for their protection; but we do it because we’re committed to the maintenance of forest biodiversity,” said Kelly Honeyman, JDI Naturalist.