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First the good news:  We have 2 Eurasian Collared Doves in the yard--been here several days--eating on ground beneath the feeders.  Also: 5 Baltimore Orioles, at least, eating grape jelly (2 young), 6 Downey wood peckers, 4 Hairy, and a Red-headed wood-pecker coming to the peanut feeder.(First  we have seen of red-head in center of town.  Maybe they will adapt to city-urban-small town living.)Also a starling feeding 2 cowbirds.I must admit I dont feel as bad for the starling as I did for the Cardinal last year feeding an enormous young  cow-bird.  So that's the news from  Knox County woe-begone.

Now the bad news: YESTERDAY WHEN I DROVE INTO THE  WINFIELD  DAM PARKING LOT A CORPS OF ENGINEERS TRUCK WAS PARKED AT THE RESTROOM FACILITY SITE AND AN EMPLOYEE WAS PREPARING TO HOSE DOWN THE NESTS BUILT BY THE CLIFF SWALLOWS  UNDER THE EAVES OF THE BUILDING. WHEN TALKING TO THE CORPS EMPLOYEE (IN UNIFORM) I POINTED OUT THAT THE NESTS WERE PROTECTED BY FEDERAL LAW, AND A FELONY TO REMOVE ONE.  SHE CALLED THE BIRDS BARN SWALLOWS, AND THERE HAD BEEN COMPLAINTS OF THE MESS, YADA, YADA, YADA. FINALLY, SHE SAID SHE WOULD MERELY HOSE DOWN THE FLOOR SINCE HER POWER SPRAY WAS NOT WORKING ANYWAY. I SHOWED HER SIBLEY PICTURES, TOLD HER I WAS A MEMBER OF THE AUDUBON SOCIETY AND WAS THERE TO TAKE PICTURES OF THE NESTS. ALSO SUGGESTED THEY PLACE SIGNS THERE STATING THE BIRDS ARE FEDERALLY PROTECTED ETC. ALSO THAT NEXT YEAR THEY COULD FIX THAT CEILING SO THAT IT WOULD NOT ATTRACT THE SWALLOWS.

I suppose the nests are gone by now, since the Corps is not interested in the environment or  good pr relations .  But what was I to do? To me a law is a law and should apply to even federal agencies (or maybe especially to  federal agencies) I am sure they can claim  concern of public protection and a myriad of other reasons and maybe they have that right. Anyway. I took pics.  54 nests and hundreds of cliff swallows. Also the Corps truck and employee. I have been reading a great book, SWALLOW SUMMER by Charles Brown, about research on cliff swallows in Nebraska. Hope I can continue to enjoy it without thinking of those nests at Winfield.

But the nagging question bothering me is what is our responsibility  or even our concern about such things when we happen onto them?

Heard the King Rail at Prairie Slough--and the bitterns were really booming (or whatever) at Clarence Cannon at 1PM! 

Anne Downing
Edina




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