NMSU may have broken federal law after attempting to remove hawk nest



New Mexico State University service workers began taking down the beginnings of Swainson hawk nests after reports of students being attacked.

Every morning for two weeks this month, NMSU service workers continued to remove these hawk nests.

One of the nests contained an egg that was destroyed after its removal.

Associate Vice President of Facilities and Services Glen Haubold told KFOX14, "This morning photos taken showed no eggs present. Unfortunately, as the branches were removed, an egg that had been obstructed from view fell from the tree."

He added that once the service worker realized the accident, the university immediately notified the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for recommendations.

Wildlife officials have asked the university to discontinue its efforts to discourage the hawk's nest building.

Swainson hawks travel from Argentina to the United States during the warmer months to nest.

NMSU is one of the places these hawks tend migrate to for the tree diversity and accessible food source the campus provides.

These birds are known to be aggressive while they are nesting and may see people as a threat if they're walking close to their offspring.

However, these birds are protected by the migratory bird treaty act established in 1918, making it illegal for anyone to harm them or nests housing their young.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are responsible for enforcing the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

"They are protected by the migratory bird treaty act and that act designates a certain time period that is March 15 to Sept. 15 every year it's a federal crime to interfere with a bird's nesting," NMSU Professor Carol Campbell said.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are currently working with NMSU officials to resolve the current issue.

There have been signs placed throughout the central part of the university informing students to be cautious while walking through the area.

"I saw that they put up signs and everything about it and I think that's great and most animals won't get aggressive unless they feel harmed or in danger of something," student Rachel Trent said.

The university also suggests carrying an umbrella in case of an attack.

Photo Courtesy: Dr. David Boje