Oakland Riled by Strange Story of 5 Baby Herons
Tree-trimmer could face federal charges for disrupting their nest
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Jun 3, 2014 10:37 AM CDT
Updated Jun 3, 2014 11:15 AM CDT
Baby black-crowned night herons are kept warm in an incubator while they recuperate at the International Bird Rescue center in Fairfield, Calif. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.   (AP Photo/San Francisco Chronicle, Paul Chinn)

(Newser) – A tree-trimmer, homeless birds, and an erroneous report involving a wood-chipper: These are the elements of a strange story that has riled Oakland. Herons living in trees near a post office were leaving droppings on mail trucks, so the post office had the trees trimmed. That, it seems, is how five baby herons tumbled to the ground and got hurt. After being taken to a wildlife rehabilitation center, they're going to be fine—but the guy who trimmed the trees could face federal charges for harming protected migratory birds, the New York Times reports. A US Fish and Wildlife Service special agent says 26-year-old Ernesto Pulido could see half a year in jail and a $15,000 fine, though the agent's office has called instead for a $1,500 fine.

He may have violated a 1918 treaty that protects migratory birds. But he's distraught over the incident and says he's an animal lover: He owns rabbits, dogs, bees, and 70 chickens, he told the San Francisco Chronicle last month. He says his family has grappled with harassment from outraged locals after the incident, even though he paid $2,500 for the birds' medical care. US Rep. Darrell Issa says it's the post office, not Pulido, that should be facing any consequences; he notes that the widespread uproar over the incident may be fueled by initial, incorrect reports that the baby birds were put in a wood chipper. Meanwhile, an Oakland advocate for the homeless points out that people seem more concerned about homeless birds than the city's homeless people.

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Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 12, 2014 8:34 PM CDT
A large camping facility I managed had a tent unit that had a central lodge and bathhouse. The lodge was outdoors and had tables and stuff. A barn owl decided to build a nest up in the open trusses. This was right before the summer season. We contacted someone in the know and he said we could not harm the owl. We had no intentions of doing that. The guy said to build a better nesting opportunity in the woods near the lodge. But getting the owl out was going to be a challenge as we didn't want it to attack small kids. So on a trip out of state, I stopped at a big fireworks warehouse and got some old fashioned m-80's. That owl did not like fireworks. When he left, we moved his nest to the new box in the woods.
Jun 4, 2014 7:33 AM CDT
Yes, where is the outrage and concern for fellow humans living on the streets all over the bay area? They say nothing and walk by them and never see the homeless.
Jun 3, 2014 3:04 PM CDT
There are plenty of other people to care for homeless people, but not very many give a flying, fat rat's ass about animals. The story does convince me it was in fact an accident though, and the man should be believed.