ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – A baby hawk now sits alone in a tall oak tree near the corner of 34th Street North and 17th Avenue in St. Petersburg. The abandoned bird stares out all day at the land that used to be its home, where trees once stood providing a safe haven for a nest.
Employees who work next door say the hawk can be heard whimpering. The baby hawk is left without a home after construction workers just a few feet away bulldozed the adjacent property, making way for a strip mall.
“It’s so sad to come through here and knock out all of these trees, it’s ridiculous without even looking to see if there are any nests,” Vikki Griffith tells WFLA-TV.
Vikki owns Deja Vu Consignment Furniture next door and can’t believe what happened. Her employees explain that they were saddened by what they saw and didn’t understand why no one reportedly checked the land for active wildlife. The bulldozing of the property is caught on the company’s surveillance cameras.
Employees reached out to 8 On Your Side, as well as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. They also spoke at length with Tampa Bay Raptor Rescue, who is keeping in close contact with the company.
At this point, experts do not know if the hawk is injured. They just know that the seemingly confused and lonely bird is now sitting on a branch and not moving.
Vikki Griffith says that the strip mall-to-be next door will hold a grocery store, a convenience store and other businesses. We reached out to Atlantic Retail Properties. The company has a corporate office located in Jupiter. It also had a retail sign in front of the large construction area, advertising leasing.
Despite numerous phone calls, no one responded to request for information.
FWC officials say that, sadly, this happens all too often. Companies are supposed to have construction sites checked for wildlife, before beginning any sort of work. However, many times companies do not check thoroughly enough.
It is illegal to disturb an active nest.