Birds hurt, killed in Oakland tree-trimming project


The trees, near a U.S. Postal Service parking lot, had birds that kept leaving droppings. The post office says that without a doubt no birds were harmed in the trimming. Others who live in the area, however, aren't saying the same thing.

A tiny black-crowned night heron is recovering from a surgery that officials say he shouldn't have had to have.

"We really encourage people to do their tree trimming in the fall and winter months after the birds have had babies," said Michelle Bellizzi with the International Bird Rescue.

Protected by the U.S. Migratory Bird Act, this and four other birds had their nests destroyed when tree trimmers chopped off the branches to the trees housing them. Some of those injured birds were brought to the International Bird Rescue; their only chance at survival.

"They had little bumps and bruises, some of them had scrapes, and one had a fractured mandible that required pinning," Bellizzi said.

According to the Department of Fish and Wildlife, crews under orders from the post office trimmed and cut branches from trees near their downtown facility, injuring birds with then branches fell. That is in direct violation of state and federal laws.

Stephanie Benavidez says rules on when trees can be trimmed and by whom are clear and that the Post Office could've avoided the entire situation with a simple phone call to the city.

"We would've come up with a solution," said City of Oakland Naturalist Stephanie Benavidez. "We would've told you -- we can't do anything right now while they're nesting, but as soon as the last one fledges, we'll be here to help."

To watch the herons on the International Bird Rescue's BirdCam, click here.

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