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DWR investigating after two birds found dead in nest covered by net

Photo: Division of Wildlife Resources

LEHI, Utah — Utah’s Division of Wildlife Resources is spreading the word that disturbing nesting birds is illegal after two baby birds were found dead in their nest in the eaves of a Lehi business.

The DWR said in a news release Tuesday that an investigation is underway. The agency received a call from a concerned individual that a net was covering a bird’s nest in Lehi. The caller told the DWR they had seen several American kestrel (North America’s smallest falcon species) nestlings earlier in the week and then later noticed the net.

When conservation officers went to take a look, they discovered a net that was separating the nestlings from their parents. Two of the nestlings had died but officers were not sure if it was a result of being trapped in the nest.

“The parents couldn’t get into the nest, and the juveniles couldn’t get out, which means the baby birds were going to die,” DWR Sgt. Sean Spencer said. “That’s definitely a problem.”

The Lehi Fire Department assisted in the relocation of the nest due to the height of the building. The three surviving baby birds were able to fly away.

Baby birds, eggs and their nests are all protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“People are welcome to prevent birds from nesting on or in their homes, but you have to do it before nesting season begins,” Spencer said. “If you have a bird that is nesting and there are eggs or baby birds in the nest, you need to wait until after the baby birds have left the nest in order to remove it and to prevent future nesting. It isn’t a long time frame, so just be patient.”

What to do if you find a baby bird on the ground

The DWR also says that if you find a baby bird on the ground and it has feathers, leave it alone. They say it is close to fending for itself and being able to fly.

If the bird does not have feathers, it is all right to carefully put it back into the nest.  The DWR says that you don’t need to be concerned about leaving your scent on the bird because most birds do not have a good enough sense of smell to even notice.

If the bird appears to be injured, you can call the DWR office, which will give more information on what to do.