Barn Swallows recently began building nests in the picnic shelter.
Since Barn Swallows are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the city told Richfield Patch that it had just begun using a removal procedure it developed with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. According to the city, many complaints of the birds diving from above and leaving waste droppings on the picnic tables prompted the development and implementation of the removal plan, which went into effect April 1.
However, one area resident, Scott Meyer, recently wrote a stating the city had illegally removed the nests, as they were still occupied by eggs and young. The protection act makes it illegal to do such a thing.
Richfield City Manager Steve Devich said the city has done nothing of the sort and the following statement was written by Jim Topitzhofer, director:
"With the help of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Recreation Services Department developed the attached procedure for the removal of barn swallow nests under the picnic shelter canopy in Veterans Memorial Park, effective April 1, 2012. Staff removed the nests on one occasion just after the early stages of nest building for the season while following the new procedure. The nests were removed after being carefully inspected to make sure no eggs or hatchlings were present. Staff continues to clean the facility to remove mud and droppings from the structure and to help make the picnic shelter more suitable for public use. The attached procedure for nest removal complies with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act according to USFWS officials."
The city's official procedure for Barn Swallow removal are attached as a PDF.