26 March 2014

Nesting Survey Report - Saddle Creek CSO! Project

This report, completed for the Omaha Public Works Department, is presented here for informational and archival purposes.
March 3, 2014

Pending tree removal by a contractor along the Saddle Creek corridor site near end of 62nd street, north of Bancroft Street, required that a survey be done to determine the presence of any nesting birds, according to provisions of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and as required by a permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The following details are provided to the Omaha Public Works Department in accordance with an email 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.

Survey Methods

A survey for bird nests and/or young was conducted mid-day on February 28th at the area indicated on an aerial photograph received via email from Public Works. During the survey these methods were used to evaluate bird activity while the area was slowly traversed during the nearly hour long visit:

1) looking closely at both tree and understory vegetation within the immediate area of the wooded channel swale and hillside;
2) evaluating leaf or twig constructs and tree trunks to determine if there were any occupied nests or cavities;
3) recording all birds present and evaluating their behavior; and
4) listening for any bird vocalizations within the area and general vicinity.

Several stops were made at suitable vantage points to look and listen for bird activity. Any potential constructs were viewed several times through a spotting scope, from different vantage points, to determine if there was any bird occupancy.

There was no construction activity underway in the immediate vicinity to hamper the ability to hear any bird vocalizations.

Survey Results

There were no active bird nests noted in the survey area, especially anything that could be used by the Great Horned Owl, which is the only species expected to be nesting at this time of the breeding season. Using a stick to knock on larger trees did not indicate the presence of any species that may have been occupying a cavity.

The only bird activity noted were a Blue Jay and Downy Woodpecker heard on the upland south of the hillside ridge.

With the current cold weather, there should not be any nesting activity initiated within at least the next two weeks. Northern Cardinals are now especially vocal in the morning, indicating their territoriality, but the site did not have the coniferous trees or shrubby growth preferred as nesting sites by this species. House Finch are also notably vocal now, but they also prefer coniferous vegetation.

Tree clearing done within this time frame would occur before any nests might be constructed subsequent to the survey visit.

Survey site.