Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Swallow Tale

Swallow mud nests on a home under the roof soffit.

A story of good coming from bad from Patagonia's blog The Cleanest Line:

One of their Ventura, CA employees, Kim Stroud, is also the executive director of the nonprofit Ojai Raptor Center. Like other centers, they care for injured raptors and other birds and creatures (bobcats, fawns,coyotes).

Here's the bad part. A Ventura business decided to get rid of some messy swallow mud nests on their building. They hit them with hoses and washed out 55 baby swallows that were only about five days from being able to fly.

Kim got volunteers to take the swallows, feed them and then head out with volunteers to find other swallow nests in which they could try to "re-nest" the young birds.

When they found a nest (most likely out of reach of people), they needed to check inside to see who was inside. If there weren't too many babies there, they would add one. They found new nests for 32 birds.

That's a good thing, but that's what those people do all the time. Here's the other good part. The bad guys at that business decided to try to make amends. (Actually they are lucky that they didn't get hit with federal fines for breaking the Migratory Bird Act.) They are paying for all of the swallow rehab (including feeding), donating to the Ojai Raptor Center and are purchasing a lighted scope so the volunteers can see into those nests.

It's good that they appear to have learned a lesson, but it is a shame that they did what they did in the first place. To make things worse, the business (unnamed in the blog post), whatever it is, actually has wildlife biologists on staff. Unfortunately, a web search on swallow mud nests will turn up more sites telling you how to remove nests than ways to protect the birds.

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