Countywide : College’s Swallows Can Nest in Peace


The swallows that nest at Moorpark College can rest easy.

After a student complained, Ventura County Community College District officials notified maintenance workers to protect the nests of migratory birds on the district’s three campuses.

The issue arose at the Moorpark campus last May when student Jay Marlette confronted maintenance workers about knocking down nests that swallows had built on the gym.

He brought to their attention the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, a 1972 international law that protects migratory birds and game that are especially endangered by development.


“I don’t know a lot about birds,” said Marlette, 20, who ran an unsuccessful campaign last spring for student trustee on the district board. “But I go backpacking and I hated to see (the nests) destroyed.”

The nests were near drinking fountains, and maintenance workers were worried about sanitation problems. “They had to be removed only because of health,” said Richard Morales, a grounds maintenance worker. “It wasn’t being done for the fun of it.”

Marlette took his case to the trustees, informing them that the nests could not be removed from building eaves or bridges without first getting a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“Even without federal regulations, the board wants to respect and protect the natural bird life living on our campuses,” Board President Timothy Hirschberg said.