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Repaving a road isn’t that simple a task, if there are birds in the way

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Posted: Tuesday, April 26, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 8:56 am, Tue Apr 26, 2011.

It may seem like a routine maintenance job for San Joaquin County — giving Acampo Road a fresh coat of asphalt — but there had better not be any migratory birds in the area, according to San Joaquin County and state officials.

Pending approval at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the county will smooth out a 1.7-mile portion of Acampo Road between Highway 99 and Lower Sacramento Road. But it will cost county taxpayers a few hundred dollars to hire a wildlife biologist to check for birds in the area, said Mike Selling, the county’s deputy public works director for engineering.

The paving project is scheduled for May, but before any asphalt finds its way to Acampo Road, a qualified biologist will need to check on whether migratory birds have any nests or baby birds in the trees on or near the road.

If any birds are found nesting in area trees, the contractor, George Reed, will have to wait until the eggs hatch, and the babies grow up and fly away from Acampo Road before repaving the road, Selling said.

Although several kinds of birds inhabit the area, the one of greatest concern to state officials is the Swainson’s hawk, which is considered a “threatened species.”

“That is moderately common for our rural projects,” Selling said.

It is unlikely that the inspection will reveal any problems, he said, because only in rare cases has the county had to delay a public works project.

There have been only three or four cases where a project has had to be delayed in the past dozen to 15 years due to migratory birds, Selling said.

The biologist will be paid through Public Works’ budgeted staff time.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

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  • Mike Adams posted at 6:27 pm on Wed, Apr 27, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    There are actually quite a few raptors living within the city limits, some very close to downtown. The diurnal movement of the crows (east of town- I don't know how far they go)flying east in the am and to their roosting spots in town, most west of Hutchins is quite impressive, provided it's not in your neighborhood as they tend to squabble and argue.
    Extremely social. Don't shoot any of them! It upsets the entire tribe. While to us they all look alike, they also have the ability to remember individual people so unless you want to end up like Tippi Hendren in The Birds,....

    Last summer I was able to get a pic of a Swainson's at about eye level coming towards me, very impressive or would have been if I had a camera and not a phone.

    We are fortunate to have a big population of Red Tails, they are a little more cautious than the Swainson's and don't like people or at least, they don't like me. But I found an injured one many years ago. Couldn't fly. It was a large juvenile, but fully capable of damage. It ended up jumping up on a piece of equipment I was sitting on, maybe a foot and a half away. A very beautiful bird. We ended up taking it to some bird rescue place on Florin Rd. They ended up having to put it down.

    If you want to check out what I think is one nest in town, look at the big flat topped pine kitty corner to St. Anns school. Hutchins Street Square gets quite a few, mostly smaller, not necessarily rare hawks.

    As far as not being able to utilize your property, I like to think of the airliner analogy:
    You can take out one screw (or rivit) and you can take out one more, and so on so it still will taxi , but how and when can you really be sure you haven't take out one screw to many? Although

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 11:36 am on Wed, Apr 27, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    Mike... By the way... I loved your post and description of this hawk... I too would love to listen...I live in the country as well... and enjoy what you enjoy... I see doves, owls, hawks and even a fox or two that drops by... it is wonderful... my point is that when you combine this case with the thousands of others, it becomes a nightmare.... farmers have to stop farming because of rats... development has been deterred because rain puddles having microscopic fish... case after case of environmental obstacles that appear to be silly in nature... this road is already paved... and you cannot even do a simple resurface so the road does not deteriorate... in my view it is over the top and non-nonsensical... its the law... but it should not be in my opinion.

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:46 am on Wed, Apr 27, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    I guess it's to much to ask to just enjoy wonderful travelers for a couple weeks each year.

    The road can still be paved, they just may have to wait a month or so, and that's ONLY if they identify a nest WITH eggs or baby birds.

    Maybe it isn't so wonderful for city dwellers, but if you had a vineyard or a pasture or just didn't want open land intertwined with rodents you would think differently.

  • david brinks posted at 8:48 pm on Tue, Apr 26, 2011.

    David Brinks Posts: 10

    And you wonder why america is going to hell in a hand basket, and with California leading the way.

    It wont be much longer and befor we can go into our own bathroom to take a dump we will have to ask for a investagation to make sure that our cr*p wont hurt the worms in the ground when it enters the septic system.

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 10:32 am on Tue, Apr 26, 2011.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9403

    sigh!!!! one more of many reasons businesses and jobs migrate away from California...
    At least when the birds fly south in the winter... it does not decrease our tax base.

  • Mike Adams posted at 6:22 am on Tue, Apr 26, 2011.

    Mike Adams Posts: 1271

    Every spring these hawks come through here. They usually leave by mid-June.
    They have very healthy appetites. I don't know how many squirrels, gophers, and other things they eat, but it's a lot. They also seem less afraid of humans. I've had them roosting on a chair on the back patio (this is not in the city).

    If you're not sure if your seeing a Swainson's or a Red Tail, the sound usually associated with eagles on TV is actually the sound made by Red Tails. Swainson's have more of a whistle but sound like the Red Tail. It' very similar note-wise, but if you hear a whistle, It's a Swainson's Hawk.

    They also roost in town. I've confirmed one nest wilthin a block or two of "downtown".
    I'll give you a hint: they like pine trees, particularly one's that have a flat top.



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