Protected Birds Injured in Tree-Trimming Accident

By Matthew Foster

May 8, 2014 1:59pm

Five baby black-crowned Night Herons in California are recovering today after quite the fall.

The federally protected birds were injured last week while crews trimmed trees near a U.S. Post Office, according to the International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, Calif.

Andrew Harmon with the International Bird Rescue told ABC News that the herons are recovering in incubators and that their injuries are indicative of a fall from a tree.

“Their bruises and scrapes are consistent with an animal falling from a nest at that age,” Harmon said.

The birds are doing well, but one of them did have surgery on its beak, Harmon added.

“I’ve seen tree trimming accidents, but nothing this dramatic before,” he said.

Birds typically make their nests in the springtime and this particular incident happened when postal service management at the Oakland branch wanted to rid their adjacent parking lot of bird droppings, according to U.S. Postal Service Spokesperson Augustine Ruiz.

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One of the five injured birds recovers at the International Bird Rescue in Fairfield, Calif. in this undated handout photo.

Although none of the birds died in the incident, Ruiz said their injuries were unfortunate.

“I’m not sure they [management] thought about what time of year it was before cutting,” Ruiz said. “If we do this again, we’ll check the branches and consider what season it is beforehand.”

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is investigating the incident, including reports that other birds died as a result of the trimming.

Department spokesperson Andrew Hughan said those reports are unsubstantiated at this time, but added that trimming any tree with a federally listed species is a violation of the Federal Migratory Bird Act.

“They could have done this differently and avoided this disaster,” Hughan said.

In the future, Hughan suggested that anyone wishing to alter a tree call his organization or the federal Fish and Wildlife Service beforehand.

“There is always a process and they violated the process,” he said

As for the birds themselves, you can watch them recover on the International Bird Rescue’s live webcam here.

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