Baby herons survive woodchipper incident in Oakland

Some of the young Black-crowned Night-Herons rescued from the incident. Photo by Isabel Luevano

A grisly scene emerged out of the San Francisco Bay Area when tree trimmers in Oakland recently were allegedly caught feeding downed branches full of Black-crowned Night-Heron nests and chicks directly into a woodchipper. The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Officials at the downtown post office ordered nearby trees trimmed Saturday because nesting birds were defecating on the mail trucks.

The result, witnesses said, was a feathery massacre that ended with nests – and baby birds – fed through a wood chipper, hysterical neighbors protesting in the street, and a call to Oakland police officers, who ordered the trimmers to stop.

Now, state and federal wildlife officials are investigating the matter, because the nest destruction and bird deaths may have violated the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

“I’m devastated. That someone could do that without even looking to see if there are nests, could have so little empathy … it’s heart wrenching,” said Stephanie Benavidez, Oakland’s supervising naturalist. “The public was incensed, rightfully.” [Read the full story here.]

Residents in the neighborhood brought surviving chicks into the care of wildlife rehabilitators. The five saved babies were tile_sponsorultimately transferred to our San Francisco Bay center in Fairfield, where they’re currently being taken care of in a warm incubator. In addition to scrapes and bruises on the birds, one orphan underwent surgery to repair a fractured mandible.

We’ll keep you posted on this story as well as the condition of the birds.

3 thoughts on “Baby herons survive woodchipper incident in Oakland”

  1. This just breaks my heart! I got very upset when I read this article! All people want to do is cut down trees and kill wildlife. There needs to be much stiffer laws for people that harm and kill birds and other animals! Even thought the articles says the people didn’t know they were killing baby birds, I don’t think they even cared. And I wish there was a law against cutting down trees. It is just sickening when a two hundred year old tree is cut down for a house or mini mall. I am sorry to be going off like this, but I just can’t stand to see precious wildlife/ birds which I adore and babies chopped to bits. And the trees. It is so hard to see them being cut down for pavement. Thanks for reading my rant. Barb

  2. I need to say one more thing, because this really is so upsetting. Why can’t lazy people clean off their vehicles, fences, pavement instead of wanting to chop down trees, kill birds or other cruel acts? People don’t value life and they are incredibly lazy and stupid! We somehow need to get the point across better to people that life is precious. Tree life is precious, bird life is precious, animal life is precious and our air is precious. And people defecate, too. Do we go to extremes to stop people from going to the bathroom? We solved the problem. We need to get those lazy people off of their bottoms to clean their trucks!!!! We need some new laws.

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