The importance of bird surveys.
Incidental take is now recognized as a major legal conundrum for many industries, including forestry, agriculture, mining, and utilities. Projects involving land clearing, or vegetation management being undertaken by developers, cities, and resorts now commonly commit to avoiding incidental take, and biologists are increasingly hired to mitigate nest loss due to land clearing activities. The risk of incidental take can be minimized by guidance from nesting models, and disturbance to nests is sometimes avoided by conducting pre-clearing nest surveys.
Every year before construction picks up in the spring there is often a confusing questions regarding bird and nest surveys. When migratory and resident bird species start nesting in May it is critical that pre-clearing surveys be done in order to prevent nest destruction. although this may seem like a small isolated problem that has relatively few effects, the opposite is true. With further decline in nesting habit, especially in highly populated areas the density of nesting bird species can be quit impressive in small areas. One major solution to dealing with the nesting birds is to simply waiting until the breeding window is complete (bird breeding window is often between May 15th- August 30th depending on location). If projects must be completed within the breeding window then qualified professionals must conduct nest surveys before any construction and clearing can start.
As someone who has done numerous nest surveys, both small and large there are a few things that I feel like I should mention. As a biologist I have no control over how many birds are nesting within a specific area, there may be none but there may also be a few. Our jobs as biologists is to find nest locations if possible, not always an easy task. We understand that as a contractor you want to be moving at a steady pace during construction season but getting upset or frustrated about the amount of nests found will do little in the ways of productivity. As biologists our first obligation is to the environment, We also understand that time is money in regards to construction, however intentionally turning a blind eye to environmental issues should not be tolerated. If a nest is found or suspected a buffer will be but in place. This buffer will stay in place until the nest is vacant and fledglings have moved on, depending a bird species buffers will differ. Larger bird species will naturally have a larger buffer, this is also the case with sensitive species.
The daily musings are my thoughts shared in writing. I use this section as a place to explore my thinking about certain topics I have though about during the day.