Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News @ PSU

News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Unusual discovery delays restoration work

Never underestimate the power of motherhood. That may be the lesson from a recent event at Pittsburg State University that caused one construction company to change its course.

Earlier this month, workers repairing and replacing the decorative stone on the exterior of Russ Hall, PSU’s administration building and oldest structure on campus, uncovered a nest belonging to an American Kestrel.

The workers contacted Rob Riggin, wildlife manager with the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks, who went up in a bucket truck with the workers to examine the nest. Riggin said he found six curious fledglings that he estimated were within days of taking to flight.

Riggin said the Kestrel, also known as a sparrow hawk, is a protected species under federal law. He advised the workers to refrain from working within 50 feet of the nest until the chicks take flight, which it now appears they have done.

Riggins commended the construction company, Atkins Weatherproofing from Springfield, Mo., for calling him as soon as they spotted the nest.

“These guys were conscientious,” Riggins said. “We were impressed with their concern for the birds and flexibility in working around the situation.”

The American Kestrel is the smallest and most widespread North American falcon, according to “The Birds of North America Online.” Riggins said the Kestrel is a beautiful bird that is “built for speed.” It is a predator that many homeowners who feel besieged by flocks of non-native starlings should appreciate, he noted. “Many people put up speakers and play recordings of the Kestrel’s call” to try to keep the starlings from nesting in their trees.

For more information on the American Kestrel visit
http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/American_Kestrel.html. To contact Rob Riggins, call (620) 231-3173.

---Pitt State---