09 April 2014

April Nesting Survey - Saddle Creek CSO! Project‏

This report, completed for the Omaha Public Works Department, is presented here for informational and archival purposes.
April 8, 2014

Pending tree removal by a contractor along the Saddle Creek corridor site near the end of South 62nd street, north of Bancroft Street, as well as at the intersection of Westbrook Ave and Dupont 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 sites and determine if there were any bird nests present, or if there were other associated breeding bird concerns.

Survey Methods

Surveys for active bird nests were conducted on the mornings of April 7th and 8th 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 two visits:

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.

Particular attention was given to the few trees to be removed. 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 nests, nest building activity or occupied tree cavities noted for birds protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. House Sparrows and European Starlings were using tree cavities at the Westbrook Avenue and Dupont Street location, but did not appear to be utilizing the trees to be removed. Also observed here was an American Robin.

In the woods at the 62nd Street locale, the species noted were a hunting Red-tailed Hawk, and seasonal migrants, some Dark-eyed Junco. The Common Grackles were foraging, as they would have nesting sites elsewhere. No nesting activity was seen in association with the robins and blue jays also present. Some Northern Cardinals were territorial in the area, but not associated with the trees to be removed.

During the survey on the morning of the 8th, an owner of property adjacent to the City of Omaha CSO! site arrived and had some questions in regards to the nesting survey. He was cleaning up his property, and would also be removing a few trees. We reviewed his plans, and there were nests in those trees either.