U raptor director speaks out on DNR hawk shooting

Andrew Mannix

 Dr. Julie Ponder, director of the University’s raptor center, says the DNR-shooting of two nose-diving hawks in Burnsville last week was unnecessary, according to the Star Tribune.

A DNR officer shot and killed two hawks last Wednesday that had been aerially terrorizing a Burnsville neighborhood since early June. DNR officer Tony Salzer said the hawks dive-bombed him when he went to the neighborhood — likely because he was too close to the nest, which was near several residents’ front yards.  Many residents said they took to wearing bicycle helmets when they went outside after sustaining injuries since the birds moved to the neighborhood.

The DNR did originally attempt to trap the birds, WCCO reports, but Ponder says more could have been done.

From the Strib:

"Ponder said she is frustrated, especially because her center was not told the hawks might be killed. She said that nobody had talked to center about the problem and that while there was a need to intervene, there is also a need to learn to coexist."

As their habitats are lost to development, Ponder said, raptors are becoming more urban, and conflicts between them and humans are becoming more prevalent. Solutions must be found, Ponder said."

Killing raptors, she said, should be the last option."