Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My good deed for the day (or possibly the next couple of weeks)

I had called in sick to work today due to an upset stomach overnight. I debated whether I should or not, and now I am so glad that I stayed home. I think I just may have saved some lives today.

Our neighbor has a HUGE tree (probably about 130 years old) behind their house and it was so big that it practically covered half of our yard. I had noticed this past winter that there was a hawk living in it and had built a nest. I watched the hawk fly around many times as I took my dog out. I saw the hawk this past weekend in the tree and took its picture. It isn't a great picture, but you can see how neat he is.

So, today, on my sick day, I took my dog outside and noticed that the HUGE tree was being cut down. My first thought was the nest! (I get kind of nutso when it comes to birds...) I went in and asked my husband (who happened to be working from home) to come outside to see what was going on. I voiced my concern to him about the nest, and we went over to talk to the guys who were working on cutting down the tree.

The guys were nice and were explaining their tree removal process when I asked if they knew there was a nest in the tree. They said that they had found the nest and that there were 4 babies inside. They had taken them out of the nest, threw the nest away and laid the birds on the grass away from where they were working. I looked at the birds, saw that they were ok, but it still didn't sit right with me. When E and I returned home, I asked him about what I should do, and he suggested that I should call The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. Having taken my Summer Camp kids on field trips there, that was already on my mind.

I called them and spoke to their receptionist who was very concerned about the situation. I gave her some information and then she said she would call me back. After a few phone calls later, I talked to their Clinic manager, Lori, who said that she wanted to come out and see the birds. She explained that this was a dangerous situation for the birds, and that she had put a call into the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department to see about the legality of this situation also.

When she arrived, I took her back over to our neighbor's and let her see the birds for the first time.

She explained to the guys that these birds are protected by the state and federally, and are never to be handled unless you are qualified. One of the guys said that he thought that if he just left the babies on the grass the mom would come back for them. Lori said that that was very unlikely, since hawks never go toward the ground. It is too dangerous for them to be near or on the ground.

After Lori had seen the babies, she called a tree guy that the Raptor Center works with. She asked if they could relocate the babies to one of our trees, which is what E and I were going to suggest anyway. The tree guy said he would come out, and in the mean time, Lori and I started to make a man-made nest.

When the tree guy arrived, he went over and got the babies and put them in a box until we were ready with the new nest.

The tree guy then climbed the tree and started to make a base for our nest. Once we had the nest ready, he put it in. Then it was time for the babies to go on to their new home.

And now they are in their new home, in a nest made by those who care about them very much, in a tree that is in OUR yard!

The mom and the dad have been circling the tree quite a bit, but they have not yet gone into this new nest. The tree removal guys were still working on the HUGE tree until 8:45 pm, so I am thinking that the mom and the dad were waiting for them to leave. I HOPE they will go and find the babies in their new nest. Time will tell if they go back for the babies, but with the way they have been circling, I am thinking that they eventually will.


Mom (I am assuming it is Mom) is on the nest as of 6:45 am today. What a happy ending!


beegirl said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Spiky Sandy said...

Gretchen you are a life saver! Thank you for your care and concern!

Sandy in Pinellas Park, FL

KatDoc said...

Wow! This is a great story! So great that you knew there was a nest and that you were home to see this and intervene. (I came here via BirdChick's blog.)

One would think that tree removal people would encounter birds' nests regularly and would be trained in what to do when they find them. I hope the company learns from this event.


donaldthebirder said...

Glad for the happy ending. I often see tree trimmers around my neighborhood (most speak no English), and often wonder how many nests they are taking out.

It is nice to see that they were concerned at all. Money predominates everything were I live (even the law).

Angie said...

Oh. My. Goodness! I am sooo glad that you were able to intervene and get them relocated to your tree---and even happier to know that Mom is back with her babies!! You are our heroine, girl!! :) I came via Birdchick's blog too. :)

Merlin said...

Great story! Thanks for sharing! And thank-goodness you were sick that day!!

Carolyn said...

Hoorah to you for stepping in on behalf of these raptors! Did anyone from the Raptor Center bother to tell you what they were? Sharp-shins? Coopers? They might not be quite so nice back (the hawks), and start going after your songbirds as they are fledging and learning to hunt . . . but . . . that's what they do! Post updates!

(A Wisconsin falconer)