"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Friday, May 6, 2011

What's a little mud?

A Black Phoebe collects mud in its bill for constructing its nest under the eaves of a winery building near Santa Maria. Photo taken March 25, 2011
     Black Phoebes are industrious little flycatchers that build mud nests one beak-full at a time.
     A reader from Huntington Beach contacted me recently about an active Black Phoebe nest under his eaves. His homeowner association plans to power wash the buildings in the next few weeks and he didn't know what to do. I said "run like the wind" and ask them to postpone power washing until the babies have fledged. What a horrible death that would be for the baby birds.
     Sometimes awareness is all that's needed. But if he needs to get tough, he could also inform them of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.  This means the California Dept. of Fish and Game and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers could fine the association for blatantly destroying the protected birds and nest. Let's hope it doesn't come to that.
    Happy birding!

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