Saturday, November 29, 2008

Permits Issued To Kill Woodpeckers

Ever wonder just on who's side the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service is on? Check this out:

"ROSSMOOR (BCN) ― A controversy is mounting in the Walnut Creek community of Rossmoor, where two homeowner's associations have obtained permits to have up to 50 acorn woodpeckers killed.

The birds have damaged properties by drilling holes into houses to store food and homeowners have been in a "long battle" with the birds, said Maureen O'Rourke, a spokeswoman for Rossmoor.

Audubon California, part of the National Audubon Society, issued a release on Monday, expressing concern over the move to kill the birds.

"I know these residents feel they have tried everything to persuade the birds to not use residents' home, but they there are better options," Graham Chisholm, director of conservation for Audubon California, said in the statement.

Two of Rossmoor's 17 homeowner's associations obtained the permits to have the birds killed from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife Service in June, according to O'Rourke."
Ya know...this just boggles my mind. Sure, I was boggled earlier today with news of the tramplings (one to death) when the 5 am sale-doors opened at a Walmart yesterday. What is wrong with people?

You can find the complete story, including a video of the news story, here. While I sympathize with the homeowners...I rather prefer the Audubon people and the 'other' home builders: There's gotta be another way!

Lethal control is generally ineffective, as new birds (or about any so-targeted animal) will just move into the space vacated by the dead ones.

[UPDATE to the this article, click the link to read more information:]

Woodpeckers Reprieve:

A battle has been won, at least for now, following the meeting between MDAs members and Rossmoor yesterday. Let’s hope they can work together and come up with a solution they can both live with. Especially the Woodpeckers.


Camera Trap Codger said...

What surprises me, is that no one has come up with a non-lethal mitigation plan. Are there no clever woodpeckerologists out there? Why hasn't anyone tried to establish artificial granaries near the peckered house? Where the birds can pecker away and stuff acorns without destroying property? A highly woodpecker-friendly alternative like a granary on a pole, in combination with a creative non-lethal deterrent at the house, like ninja ravens could solve the problem.

Beverly said...

Exactly Chris! I Googled “non-lethal ways to get rid of woodpeckers” and got over 1000 hits in 19 seconds. I’ve read ads where companies guarantee their work, too. This is just crazy…I don’t know how those people could have spent so much money and their best answer is to kill them.

We ALL should know killing anything just opens up room for more of the same to move in. Remember the goat-farm near here, which killed eleven (11) mountain lions the first year they moved in? Yeah, cats just had bigger litters and the people are still hiring bounty-hunters to kill the big cats so they can raise goats where they damn well please…even in mountain lion country.

I’ve read this sort of thing is apt to happen when habitat is changed suddenly: like removing almost every single oak tree in a beautiful area…to build a housing development!


...Ninja ravens?

A Portland Backyard said...

I don't understand why they can't be caught and perhaps reintroduced into an area that is losing it's Acorn Woodpecker population. Seems like a win-win to me.

I am going to do some research on this. There absolutely has to be a different way to do things.

Cheryl said...

I thought I would update you on what is happening so far with the woodpeckers. The local Audubon Society is involved now and is working with Rossmoor to come up with some alternitives to killing them.The artificial granary is one of the methods being considered.I will keep updates on my blog.Bay Area Wildlife Blog.

Beverly said...

Thanks Cheryl...I remember either seeing the Audubon mention in the newspaper article or on the video clip included there. I think that was part of why I was so darned surprised that the 'solution' was killing the birds. I guess I didn't realize they'd only just become involved.

I grew up in Bay Area (5th generation Californian!)...the whole thing really surprises me. I'll come over to your side and see what you find out.

RuthieJ said...

Geez Beverly, this post has got me pretty PO'd too! When I worked at Wild Birds Unlimited there were always some people who would come in and complain about woodpeckers pecking on their house and ask if it was illegal to kill them. We had plenty of solutions to suggest to them, but what it usually boiled down to was that their house was built in a wooded area (or the woods) and then they used wood siding (instead of vinyl or steel). DUH!!
It makes me sad when human stupidity results in the woodpeckers being at fault and suffering the consequences.

Beverly said...

Ruthie, many of us are upset that something could end up like this, but according to Cheryl…it hasn’t. If you go to her Bay Area Wildlife Blog, Cheryl and other Audubon members are working with the folks of Rossmoor for another, more humane, solution. I applaud them!

Do visit her blog, it’s really an interesting turn of events and makes me proud (again) to be a Californian…even if I’ve not been there in some time. I grew up with a view of Mt. Diablo out my bedroom window.

One of the solutions is apparently something Chris, the Camera Trap Codger, suggested first: an artificial granary. Cool! These are unusual little woodpeckers that live in family groups that depend on their special storage spots. I’m so happy Cheryl’s group is helping the subdivision work a way to save the birds.