21 August 2013

Nesting Bird Survey August 11 - Saddle Creek Project

Provided to Omaha Public Works; August 11, 2013. Presented here for archival and informational purposes.

Tree removal pending at the east Westlawn Cemetery site in association with the Saddle Creek CSO! project required that a survey be done in regards to any nesting birds, according to provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

The following details are provided to the Public Works Department in accordance with an agreement to evaluate the indicated project site and determine if there were any bird nests present, or if there were other associated breeding bird concerns.

It should be noted that several previous bird surveys have been done around this area, which are helpful in understanding the conditions relative to the survey area features.

Survey Methods

A survey for bird nests and/or young was conducted early on the morning of August 11th at the area indicated by the provided plan sheet and as marked on an aerial photograph.

During the survey four methods were used to evaluate bird activity while the area was slowly traversed:

1) looking closely at both tree and understory vegetation within the immediate area;
2) watching and recording all birds present and evaluating their behavior;
3) listened for any bird vocalizations within the area and general vicinity; and
4) watched for bird activity that would indicate an active nest or adult birds feeding pre-flight young.

Survey Results

There were no nests or pre-flight young observed at the specified survey site.

General bird activity noted in the area did include:

  • American Robin: a few roosting on the snags limbs of cottonwood trees
  • Black-capped Chickadee: foraging through the tree space
  • Eastern Wood-Pewee: foraging
  • European Starling: a few roosting on the snags limbs of cottonwood trees
  • Northern Cardinal: this was the only territorial bird, and a male was heard but there was no female in the immediate vicinity, nor were there any young present
  • Red-bellied Woodpecker: foraging on a cottonwood tree
  • White-breasted Nuthatch: foraging on a cottonwood tree

Other species observed in the general vicinity also did not convey any nesting activities.

Birdly Notes

A primary impact of the tree clearing will be the removal of a few massive, old cottonwood trees. These trees, already near the extent of their natural life-time, provided foraging habitat for woodpeckers and the nuthatches, for example, as well as being used as roost sites by several species. They also had cavity potential, which could have been used as nesting sites.

In observing these trees in particular, there was no use of cavity habitat observed.