The Destruction of Purple Martin Nests at San Pasqual High School


Natalie Price, Staff Writer

As a protected species under the Federal Migratory-Bird Treaty Act, harming the birds, their nests, or any other part of their habitat is illegal.

List of birds protected by the Federal Migratory-Bird Treaty Act

The Purple Martin has historically been widely distributed throughout the Majority of California when migrating during summer months. From Northern California to South America, nests built from mud, twigs, and pebbles can be seen in high peaks or small spaces. These nests will begin to fill with eggs from March to May.

Purple Martin Nest

The Purple Martins have been making their homes at San Pasqual High School since the early years of our campus in the ’70s. The population of migrating Martins increased for an amount of time as the school built the two-story 900 building. 

Purple Martin Nest

Unfortunately, as the population rises as do impacts on the population. The Purple Martins pose no real threat to our campus besides bird droppings and mud on walls, compared to the mess made by the students this appears rather insignificant. The Martin even forms a symbiotic relationship with humans by lowering the insect population.

Purple Martin Nest

While there is already no reason to disturb a peaceful creature. It is also against the law. The Purple Martin belongs to the list of migratory birds federally protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The law states that any harm to the bird or their nests is prohibited.

Now the question is, why does a public high school destroy the nests of a bird species if it is against the law? Yet remnants of destroyed nests can be seen around campus.

Purple Martin Nest Remnants

Purple Martin Nest Remnants

This continues to be a disturbing sight around campus. Consequences for violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act range from six months in prison and a $15,000 fine to two years in prison as well as a $500,000 fine.

Purple Martin Nests

Conservation of a bird on a high school campus may not seem of upmost importance. However, if we don’t take this situation seriously then we are allowing the continuation of harming wild life take place. Many have gotten reusable straws to save the turtles and many continue to move towards a plant based diet for the livestock. All animals deserve the same respect.

Purple Martin Swallow

The Swallow perched in it’s home on our school’s dance studio is a part of our campus. They sing songs as we walk to class in the morning. They get rid of those flies buzzing in our faces at lunch. 

Purple Martin

They’re only on our campus for a few months each year. Coming to escape the cold and to grow their own bird family. The swallows belong on campus just as we Eagles do. They are part of our family. San Pasqual boasts a family-like environment between students, teachers, parents, alumni, and staff. We must come to terms with the swallows belonging on campus as part of our SP family.