Birds hurt in Oakland tree trimming incident to be released

A tree-trimming operation in Oakland that left some protected birds badly injured and others dead is being investigated.

At least two birds injured last month when the U.S. Postal Service ordered trees trimmed to get rid of the birds outside its downtown Oakland location will be released in Oakland on Saturday, an International Bird Rescue spokesman said Thursday.

Five young black-crowned herons were injured May 3 when a contractor for the postal service trimmed the trees outside the post office at 201 13th St. on May 3.

Two of them will be released with a group of other orphaned herons cared for by the bird rescue at an event at Martin Luther King Jr. Regional Shoreline Park at 7001 Edgewater Drive on Saturday afternoon, bird rescue spokesman Andrew Harmon said.

The remaining three birds are still too young to release.

The contractor, who identified himself as Ernesto Pulido of Bay Point, is facing federal charges in the incident because the herons are a protected species.

Most bird species in California are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and it is illegal to disrupt their nesting. Any trimming should be done after the birds nesting season is over, according to investigators.

The investigation did not corroborate initial reports that any birds had died or that the birds had been put through a wood chipper.

The maximum sentence for the misdemeanor charges is six months incarceration and a $15,000 fine.

Pulido visited the bird rescue in Fairfield after the incident and is paying for their care, Harmon said.

"We had a very productive meeting, and we believe this incident can serve to educate the public on the consequences of tree-trimming in the spring, when nesting is in high gear," Harmon said in a statement.
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