No impactAccording to a statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services, which enforces the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, the law has no impact on Oklahoma’s road projects unless birds are killed during a project. “Our standard practice is to advise road crews to conduct habitat destruction activities before or after the bird breeding season,” the statement read. “Permits may be issued in situations where the ... relocation of birds is absolutely necessary to protect human health or safety.” Jeff Haskins, chief of the migratory bird office for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s southwest region, clarified the bird in question is the cliff swallow, known for nesting under bridges, not the barn swallow. Conceding it may be inconvenient, Haskins said his agency encourages states to plan ahead on road projects and remove nests before the swallows arrive. An empty nest can be removed without a permit, he said. Asked whether his agency has stepped up its enforcement of the law and specifically the Ellis County project, Haskins denied any change in enforcement has occurred but said he could not comment on ODOT’s experience last year.
NewsOK.com has disabled the comments for this article.