Kestrel nest with 4 eggs shot out of tree in Eagle Mountain

Kestrel nest with 4 eggs shot out of tree in Eagle Mountain (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Brian Smith has been a volunteer with the Eagle Mountain Kestrel Project for almost two years.

The organization is working with HawkWatch International to monitor the health and populations of the American Kestrels across the state and country.

There are 300 nesting boxes total, with 20 in Eagle Mountain. Smith's job is to monitor three of them.

This past Monday, he was excited to check on one of his boxes; the week prior he'd noticed the female had laid four eggs. On this visit he was expecting to see her hatchlings.

As Smith walked towards the tree that holds the kestrel's nesting box, he didn't see their home. Initially, he thought perhaps he hadn't fastened it to the tree property, or that the wind may have blown it down, but as he looked on the ground, he noticed the box.

"I got about half way there and I realized it didn't fall down, it was shot down," Smith said. He found the nesting box destroyed and discovered several shotgun shells near the box.

He also found the Kestrel and her babies — all dead.

"It's really disappointing," Smith said.

After monitoring the box for a year and a half, the birds become kind of like family, he told 2News.

"You kind of take ownership in it," says Smith, "I know they're not mine, but I feel kind of like they are," Smith said.

Now, the Utah Division of Natural Resources is investigating and wants to know who shot up the nesting box. Killing or harming the Kestrels, a protected species, is a Class A misdemeanor.

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