Friday, June 6, 2008

Federal Wildlife Regulations Impose Public Nuisance On Utah City; Magna Infested With Barn Swallows Thanks To The Migratory Bird Treaty Act

Apparently some barn swallows forget to take Bugs Bunny's proverbial "left turn at Albuquerque" to go to San Juan Capistrano. A number of them migrate up to Magna, Utah. And they're causing a problem for a particular neighborhood in Magna. Full story published June 1st, 2008 by KTVX Channel 4.

Joanne Campisi says her neighborhood at 8500 West 3600 South is under siege. “They come at six o'clock in the morning, three hundred of them...If you open the door to let the dog out you gotta be real quick…a bird came in the other day,” said Campisi.

And the Campisi's home seems to be the swallows' most popular hang out in the neighborhood. “They're all over...and under the windows right under the eaves,” she pointed out. The Campisi's home is streaked with mud from the dozens of nests that the swallows build in their eaves. To add insult to injury, the Campisis are trying to sell their home, requiring a continuous battle to clean up after the birds.

Why do the swallows find this Magna neighborhood so attractive? It may be because they are so close to their mud supply located in a nearby creek. This is an acquired behavior; the swallows didn't start showing up until four years ago, but they've returned each year at this time ever since.

Wildlife experts say one way to keep the birds away is by knocking down the nests with a hose and water, but they have to be careful because the barn swallow is a federally protected migratory bird under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, despite the fact that, according to Wikipedia, it is neither an endangered nor a threatened species. And therein lies the problem - it is illegal to destroy a nest full of eggs or chicks. Another way to keep the swallows away is to bring in a predatory bird, like a Great Horned Owl, or play a continuous recording of one.

How long does the neighborhood have to put up with this nuisance each year? According to Wikipedia, the incubation period for the eggs is normally 14–19 days, with another 18–23 days before the altricial chicks fledge. The fledged young stay with, and are fed by, the parents for about a week after leaving the nest. So it's about two months, at a maximum, if the swallows succeed in laying their eggs. So the key is to prevent them from nesting in the first place. And that requires vigilance.

Commentary: This is an example of government acting as oppressor of the people rather than their protector. The government has no business statutorily imposing this type of burden upon the people. At the very least, it should allow the people to destroy the nests if they have eggs within, so long as the eggs haven't hatched. This is exactly what I would do - the law be damned.

And being that this problem is caused by the Federal government, it requires a Federal solution. Who are Magna's elected Federal representatives? There are Senators Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch - why don't they take an interested in the problem? Chris Cannon? Hell, he can't even keep illegal aliens out - how could you expect him to keep swallows out? In any event, the locals ought to be petitioning their elected Federal representatives for legislative relief.

No comments: