Date: 7/10/19 10:43 am
From: Chuck Aid <caid...>
Subject: [cobirds] Re: [Evergreenbirders] Meyer Ranch Cliff Swallows
So here’s the scoop on the removal of the Cliff Swallow nests. This was done by the Colorado Department of Transportation, and in compliance with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). This means that as long as the birds have not initiated egg-laying, CDOT is playing by the rules. Their approach, which began in April this year, is to remove old nests in anticipation of construction projects scheduled for this year. They then continue to remove nests as birds start to rebuild in an attempt to discourage them from nesting in that area, which seems to eventually work (the CDOT guy I spoke with seems to think that at that point the Cliff Swallows will go nest in the nearby trees, “like other birds”).

The reason for needing to discourage nesting on the bridges is that if the birds are nesting at the time that a project eventually gets rolling, and that project then, subsequently creates a problem for the birds, then CDOT realizes that they would not be in compliance with the MBTA. So, they’re trying to be proactive. It appears that there have been a number of projects along US 285 this year so I think we need to give CDOT the benefit of the doubt for this year. What’s not clear is how much this could be anticipated to be an annual event, and my CDOT guy really wasn’t comfortable with speaking to that. However, he did finally say, after I mentioned the fact that there have been years in the past when the swallows were allowed to breed there, that it seemed likely that there could be years when the nests would be left alone - not said with any real conviction though.

So, while a number of you were ready to string somebody up, I don’t think we’re at that point. I suppose next year if they start to initiate nest removal we could try and see if any of the nests they’re removing appear to have new eggs. However, once CDOT gets to the point of trying to discourage nesting, they seem to come by every three days to knock the newly constructed nests down again, so finding newly laid eggs seems unlikely. They do have biologists on staff helping to guide the process.

Chuck Aid
Evergreen, Colorado

> On Jul 7, 2019, at 4:10 PM, Chuck Aid <caid...> wrote:
>
> Through the past decade I have noted that the US 285 bridge over South Turkey Road, immediately adjacent to the Meyer Ranch parking lot, has been a regular nesting site for Cliff Swallows, though I have not looked to see if they might have missed some years and gone elsewhere. However, looking at eBird just for 2019 I see that Doug Kibbe and Betty Glass recorded 100 there on May 18. I led a group there on July 6, and it was obvious that someone had come along in the interim and cleared out all the nests from under the bridge. I recorded only three Cliff Swallows. I know nothing about the timing of those nests being removed, or who might be responsible, or if it was done prior to eggs being laid, but thought that this might be something to keep an eye on in future years.
>
> Chuck Aid
> Evergreen, CO
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