This matchup is a study in contrasts. As much as Sandhill Crane numbers are increasing, American Kestrels sadly are on the decline. The reasons are complex, but two of the issues are urban sprawl and lack of adequate nesting cavities. There’s a push under way to expand the number of kestrel nesting box monitors—some 3,500 need monitoring. That will help scientists better understand what is happening with kestrel population trends.
People love raptors, and they especially love small raptors like the kestrel. But it’s just too much to think the kestrel could surmount the Sandhill Crane. Or maybe not—this tournament has been full of surprises.
Pick: Sandhill Crane