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Bird nests halt building of visitors center at Vasquez Rocks

June 13, 2012 |  3:04 pm

Vasquez Rocks
The discovery of bird nests inside the construction site of a new visitors center at Vasquez Rocks Natural Area and Nature Center has temporarily halted the building project, Los Angeles County officials announced this week.

According to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission, two active House finch nests were found inside the construction zone, prompting postponement of the building work and an art-making workshop that was scheduled to be held Saturday and Sunday at the park in Agua Dulce.

County officials explained that the Migratory Bird Treaty Act protects certain species from nest destruction during the mating season. So neither of the House finch nests can be disturbed “until the eggs have hatched and the young have fledged,” officials said.

House finches typically nest and breed from February through August and produce two or more broods per year, with two to six eggs per brood, according to the arts commission. The eggs are incubated for 12 to 14 days and the young usually acquire feathers and develop wing muscles about 11 to 19 days after hatching.

To ensure protection of the birds, the nests and eggs, a 100-foot buffer zone would be maintained, officials said. They noted that an avian biological monitor would conduct intermittent checks over the following weeks to ensure other birds don't make nests and lay eggs within the construction project zone.

Officials said the art-making workshop, part of the Arts Commission’s Civic Art Program, would be rescheduled once the construction project resumes.

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 -- Ann M. Simmons in Santa Clarita

Photos: Hikers are dwarfed by outcroppings at Vasquez Rocks. Credit: Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times.

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