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Commissioned by Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT / April 2008 / Animal Estate building workshop on Thursday, April 17th / Press: Boston Pheonix, April 23, 2008 / Downloads: POSTCARDS



3.1 American Kestrel Falcon (Falco sparverius)

I am the smallest Falcon, about the size of a robin. I require open ground for hunting and are most often found in mountain meadows, marshlands, grasslands, deserts, open pine forests, and any kind of mixed woods or grasslands, agricultural land, vacant sites, airfields, along the edge of highways, etc. I will usually defend a territory of approximately half a square mile. I help control the populations of rodents and insects.

I am a secondary cavity nester, requiring an abandoned woodpecker hole or similar cavity, and will happily move into a man-made nestbox. I usually mate for life and lay three to seven eggs over a period of 2 or 3 days, and we remain as a family unit for some time.

My Estate should be at least 200 yards away from people or buildings and at least 10 feet above the ground, preferably between 15-20 feet high, with the entrance hole facing east or southeast towards the rising sun. I am an open country bird and do not nest in forests. Find a location for my Estate werewe are hunting, but not nesting!


3.2 Tree Swallow (Tachycineta bicolor)

I am an aerial feeder of beetles, midges, crane flies, horseflies, ants, moths, grasshoppers, dragonflies, and mayflies. I am generally monogamous, but have been known to take more than one mate simultaneously. In the Northeast we lay our eggs in mid-May, usually 4-6 in as many days, with about two weeks of incubation.

I prefer open habitats, such as the edges of woods, and areas near water, including marshes, shorelines, and swamps, which can be breeding grounds for insects. During the breeding season i am territorial and will aggressively defend my nest against other Tree Swallows other species. I am quite tolerant of you humans.

I am a hole and cavity dweller and nest in natural tree cavities, woodpecker holes, and nest boxes in which I will make an open cup of grass or pine needles. Mount my Estate on a tree trunk or post, or hang from a tree branch or under an eave between four and twenty feet high with partial sun and shade, placing several boxes in a yard or field edge. I welcome neighbors!

Outside of the breeding season we congregate into enormous flocks and night roosts, sometimes numbering in the hundreds of thousands, swirling around like a living tornado. For reasons which are still under investigation by humans, I enjoy playing with a feather, which I drop and then retrieve as it floats in the air.



Commissioned by: Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT, organized by Meg Rotzel

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139

Design by: PS New York

The Center for Advanced Visual studies is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts; the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; the LEF Foundation; and the MIT Council for the Arts.