During a renovation of the 15-story Manzanita Hall dormitory on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, crews stopped in their tracks after coming upon a squatter. Except this one wasn't the usual human variety of trespasser.

While demoing the exterior skin of the 45-year-old building earlier this week, workers found a magnificent hawk, nesting with her three eggs. The nest was perched high up on a concrete overhang that is part of the building’s distinctive façade of repeating ‘X’ shapes.
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A hawk nesting with three eggs was found during demolition at ASU. Photo by Valerie Schultz Photography

Phoenix-based general contractor Hardison/Downey Construction Inc. is performing a full gut—not of the hawk, of course, but of the building. New developer and operator American Campus Communities is funding the $34-million project, which began in September. 

Since hawks are a federally protected species, Arizona Fish & Game went onsite today to safely remove the large bird and relocate it into wilder environs (if it’s possible to find a place more 'wild' than the notorious campus, that is.) Pieces of the hawk’s existing nest, infused with her scent, will be taken to the new location to encourage her to adopt the new nest.
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Maybe the hawk is swooping down to intercept the food truck at the construction site? Photo by Valerie Schultz Photography

Interestingly, her three eggs will not be joining her at this new location, according to a Hardison/Downey rep. There is the risk that she would abandon the eggs after the move. But all is not lost; the three eggs will be hatched and reared using a surrogate bird, and then released into the wild once grown up enough to fly. And, remember those pieces of old nest carrying the flying family’s scent? They should help encourage the mother hawk to lay a new batch of eggs at her new home.

For its future human inhabitants, the new and improved Manzanita Hall will offer two- and three-bed dorm rooms with one bathroom, and four-bed dorms with two bathrooms. A student dining facility on the first floor will also be renovated, and social spaces such as a fitness center, computer rooms, lounges and business center will be added. Hawk-free exterior spaces will include newly landscaped courtyards and basketball and sand volleyball courts.

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The $34-million renovation of Manzanita Hall at Arizona State University's Tempe campus will be complete by July 2013. Rendering courtesy Studio Ma/Solomon Cordwell Buenz

Fortunately, the squatter bird’s eviction didn’t cause any delays for the project team, which expects to complete the project by July 2013.

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