- Associated Press - Sunday, May 15, 2016

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) - Questions have arisen after federally protected birds began nesting at a Lawrence complex.

Barn swallows have a habit of protecting their nests by swooping near those who approach, leading to complaints from some tenants of the Remington Square complex, the Lawrence Journal-World (https://j.mp/1UZqhMw ) reports.

After some nests were knocked down, resident Sarah Archer called wildlife officials, and they recently made a visit. Archer said the swallows have been building their nests in the covered breezeways between apartments for years, and she thinks the nests should be left to allow the birds to raise their young.

“They are migratory; they come and they go,” Archer said. “They’re only here for about eight weeks.”

Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to remove the active nests of certain migratory birds. An active nest is defined as one occupied by either eggs or baby birds.

Bryan Cargill, assistant property manager for the complex, said management’s main concern is that some nests are being built on top of external sprinkler heads, creating a safety hazard.

“We’ve been trying to find a solution,” Cargill said. “… That’s the only time that we’re taking them down, is if they’re on the sprinkler heads.”

Cargill said that they are looking into ways to prevent the nests from being built in the future.

Fire codes require that sprinkler heads be free of any obstruction, and the nests were checked for eggs or hatchlings before they were removed, according to a statement from an attorney representing the apartment complex.

Mike Miller, information section chief for the Kansas Department of Wildlife, said one way to prevent nests from being built is mounting wire mesh over locations that birds favor or using other visual deterrents such as owl decoys or flash tape. And for those who just want the nest farther from their building or home, there is another option, he said.

“You can provide a nesting box or platform near the home, which gives them an alternative,” Miller said.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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