BiodiverseCity St. Louis

BiodiverseCity St. Louis is a growing network of organizations and individuals throughout the greater St. Louis region who share a stake in improving quality of life for all through actions that welcome nature into our urban, suburban and rural communities. Learn more about this effort, and join in.

Take Action Today…and Make It Count

Throughout St. Louis, every day, people are making big and small changes to their backyards, balconies, streetscapes, schoolyards, parking lots, and play areas. Some are doing this because they love nature and want to experience more of it in their daily lives. Others recognize that native plants in the right places help prevent flooding, clean and cool our air and improve human health and well-being. Still others embrace the positive impact that leafy streets, accessible parks, hiking/biking trails and other quality green spaces have on property values and the economic vibrancy of our region.

For all these reasons and more, the BiodiverseCitySTL Network invites each of the 2.9 million citizens of the greater St. Louis bi-state region to take action. In this spirit, we are excited to launch the Nature in Our Neighborhoods citizen action project. No matter who you are or where you live, all of us can do something to beautify, bio-diversify and better the communities in which we live, work, learn and play. To get started, check out our curated list of expert ideas and local resources from across our region, connect with others and share your stories.


Species Spotlight

American kestrel
American kestral at entrance to tree cavity. Photo by Gregory "Slobirdr" Smith.
Falcons in the Big City
Roughly the size of a pigeon, American kestrels (Falco sparverius) can be found perching, hovering, and hunting within our urban core, our suburban neighborhoods, and our rural communities. In St. Louis, a resident nesting pair of this species lives near the Deer Lake natural area of Forest Park, delighting birders with their signature loud shrill, “klee, klee, klee,” piercing through the urban din. This efficient, graceful, pint-sized predator specializes in smaller prey (especially young cottontails) that larger raptors might ignore, and thus keeps the populations of those prey species in check.

While this colorful falcon is North America’s most common raptor, researchers have documented a decline in recent years. They are the only falcon or hawk on this continent to nest in cavities, increasing their reliance on old-growth trees and snags, which are often clear-cut or cleared. Additional causes could include climate change, depredation, and environmental contaminants, but scientists need more data.

To do: Build a nest box for kestrels. For placement, a bit of open space (with plenty of insects and rodents) will do. Install on an isolated tree, a post, or a low-activity side (no doors) of a house, barn, or shed, but avoid wooded areas. These birds will love you for it, and hopefully, you’ll get an up-close view of raptors raising a brood next spring.

To do next: Register your nest box with the American Kestrel Partnership to join other citizen scientists collecting data on kestrels across the Western Hemisphere.

Just for fun: Watch an American kestrel fight off a European starling for nest box rights. Impressive!

Featured Partner Programs

Milkweeds for Monarchs logo   Bring Conservation Home logo   Operation Clean Stream logo   Show Me Rain Gardens logo