I sent this e-mail yesterday to Dallas’s Parks & Recreation Department (that area of our city government responsible for care of White Rock Lake where I live):
I wanted to let you know there’s a killdeer nest in the mowed grass at [this location] (at White Rock Lake). The nest is [in this specific place]. Since it’s in the mowed section, I didn’t want it mistakenly damaged by mowing or yard maintenance. There’s [a marker] in the ground [near the nest]. Please note the killdeer are incubating four eggs in the nest as of 6/1/2009.
I’ve redacted critical sections of my message to ensure no one can locate the nest based on this post.
After not hearing back from Dallas regarding this issue, I called today. Two out of three people claimed they never saw my e-mail.
When I finally reached the third person, Mark from the group responsible for White Rock Lake, he explained he had my message in front of him but needed me to show him specifically where the nest could be found.
Keep in mind killdeer are protected by federal law as part of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (and other laws). To endanger the nest—especially with eggs in it—is to wish for prosecution for violating an international treaty and federal laws that protect this species.
I have photos of the nest from two different days (yesterday and three days ago), both showing eggs—and one showing an adult killdeer standing over the eggs. I’ll post those soon.
Meanwhile I suspect this will be an uphill battle against Dallas. To claim ignorance when the nest was clearly identified and marked is to state one of two things: no one looked or no one cares.
As a federally and internationally protected species, I had hoped my missive would meet with more action than two doses of “didn’t get your message” and one dose of “we need you to show us what you’re talking about.” My directions were quite clear (as you’ll see if I need to post them). And having the nest marked in a way that can never be confused with anything else in the area means there’s no way to get out of protecting it.
I will post the photos soon. The discovery of the nest held its own magic (not to mention outwitting a killdeer in order to find it). Still, I wanted to get this online in preparation for any problems with the nest if DP&R fails to protect it.
So tomorrow morning I have a meeting with them at the lake to show them where the nest is. Yes, I’m interrupting my work schedule to help protect a protected species. Why doesn’t this surprise me considering it’s the city of Dallas I’m dealing with…